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Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Apr 1;10(8):815-24.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms in exons of the apo(a) kringles IV types 6 to 10 domain affect Lp(a) plasma concentrations and have different patterns in Africans and Caucasians.

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Institute of Medical Biology and Human Genetics, University of Innsbruck, Schoepfstrasse 41, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is a complex of apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] and low-density lipoprotein which is associated with atherothrombotic disease. Lp(a) plasma levels are controlled to a large extent by the apo(a) gene locus. Known polymorphisms in the apo(a) gene, including the kringle (K) IV-2 variable number of tandem repeats, explain only part of the large interindividual variability and do not explain the differences in Lp(a) concentrations between major human ethnic groups. Here we performed screening for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in exons and flanking intron sequences of the apo(a) K IV types 6, 8, 9 and 10 which represent 1.3 kb of coding sequence in two African (Khoi San, Black South Africans) and one Caucasian (Tyroleans) populations and investigated whether they affect Lp(a) levels. Together, 768 alleles were analyzed. We identified 14 SNPs, including 11 non-synonymous SNPs (eight of which involved conserved residues), one splice site and two synonymous base changes. No sequence variants common to Africans and Caucasians were found. Several of the newly identified SNPs showed significant effects on Lp(a) plasma concentrations. The substitutions S37F in K IV-6 and G17R in K IV-8 were associated with Lp(a) levels significantly below average in Africans. In contrast, the R18W substitution in K IV-9, which occurred with a frequency of 8% in Khoi San, resulted in a significantly increased Lp(a) concentration. Together, our data suggest that several SNPs in the coding sequence of apo(a) affect Lp(a) levels. This indicates that many SNPs may have subtle effects on the gene product.

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