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Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Apr;68(4):839-47. Epub 2001 Feb 28.

Cloning of dimethylglycine dehydrogenase and a new human inborn error of metabolism, dimethylglycine dehydrogenase deficiency.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Dimethylglycine dehydrogenase (DMGDH) (E.C. number is a mitochondrial matrix enzyme involved in the metabolism of choline, converting dimethylglycine to sarcosine. Sarcosine is then transformed to glycine by sarcosine dehydrogenase (E.C. number Both enzymes use flavin adenine dinucleotide and folate in their reaction mechanisms. We have identified a 38-year-old man who has a lifelong condition of fishlike body odor and chronic muscle fatigue, accompanied by elevated levels of the muscle form of creatine kinase in serum. Biochemical analysis of the patient's serum and urine, using (1)H-nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectroscopy, revealed that his levels of dimethylglycine were much higher than control values. The cDNA and the genomic DNA for human DMGDH (hDMGDH) were then cloned, and a homozygous A-->G substitution (326 A-->G) was identified in both the cDNA and genomic DNA of the patient. This mutation changes a His to an Arg (H109R). Expression analysis of the mutant cDNA indicates that this mutation inactivates the enzyme. We therefore confirm that the patient described here represents the first reported case of a new inborn error of metabolism, DMGDH deficiency.

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