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Pharmacogenetics. 1997 Feb;7(1):27-34.

Characterization of an unstable variant (BChE115D) of human butyrylcholinesterase.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA.


An unstable variant of human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is described in four apparently unrelated individuals sensitive to succinylcholine. Sequencing of genomic DNA revealed a single nucleotide substitution which results in the replacement of amino acid residue Gly115 by Asp. This variant can be recognized by its increased instability under extremes of temperature such as heating and also freezing and thawing, both in homozygous and heterozygous states. When in heterozygous combination with the Atypical variant, it produces dibucaine and fluoride numbers which are intermediary between those of Atypical homozygotes and heterozygotes. After repeated freezing and thawing, however, these values approach those of homozygous Atypical plasma. Measurement of activity and immunoreactive BChE protein in plasma of individuals representing different combinations of this allele indicated that the presence of the Usual or Atypical enzymes seems to partially protect this variant from denaturation in vivo. Phenotyping fresh serum or plasma samples, before they are frozen, is critical for the identification of this, and possibly some other, unstable variants.

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