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Pharmacogenetics. 2000 Jul;10(5):439-51.

A novel mutation in the flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 gene, FM03, that causes fish-odour syndrome: activity of the mutant enzyme assessed by proton NMR spectroscopy.

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Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Research Group, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Whitechapel, London, UK.


We have previously shown that primary trimethylaminuria, or fish-odour syndrome, is caused by an inherited defect in the flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3) catalysed N-oxidation of the dietary-derived malodorous amine, trimethylamine (TMA). We now report a novel causative mutation for the disorder identified in a young girl diagnosed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of her urine. Sequence analysis of genomic DNA amplified from the patient revealed that she was homozygous for a T to C missense mutation in exon 3 of the FMO3 gene. The mutation changes an ATG triplet, encoding methionine, at codon 82 to an ACG triplet, encoding threonine. A polymerase chain reaction/restriction enzyme-based assay was devised to genotype individuals for the FMO3Thr82 allele. Wild-type and mutant FMO3, heterologously expressed in a baculovirus-insect cell system, were assayed by ultraviolet spectrophotometry and NMR spectroscopy for their ability to catalyse the N-oxidation of TMA. The latter technique has the advantage of enabling the simultaneous, direct and semi-continuous measurement of both of the products, TMA N-oxide and NADP, and of one of the reactants, NADPH. Results obtained from both techniques demonstrate that the Met82Thr mutation abolishes the catalytic activity of the enzyme and thus represents the genetic basis of the disorder in this individual. The combination of NMR spectroscopy with gene sequence and expression technology provides a powerful means of determining genotype-phenotype relationships in trimethylaminuria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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