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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Nov 20;1588(2):119-25.

Functional characterization of PCCA mutations causing propionic acidemia.

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  • 1Dpto. Biología Molecular, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, CSIC-UAM, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Propionic acidemia (PA, MIM 232000 and 232050) is caused by a deficiency of mitochondrial biotin-dependent propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC, EC, a heteropolymeric enzyme composed of alpha and beta subunits, which are encoded by the PCCA and PCCB genes, respectively. The PCCA protein (alpha subunit) is responsible for the formation of carboxybiotin upon hydrolysis of ATP and contains a C-terminal biotin-binding domain and a biotin carboxylase domain, defined by homology with other biotin-dependent carboxylases, some of them characterized structurally. More than 24 mutations have been found in the PCCA gene in patients with PA, among them 14 missense mutations and one in-frame deletion, for which the precise molecular effect is unknown. In this study, we have established the pathogenicity of 11 PCCA mutations (10 missense and an in-frame deletion) by expression studies in deficient fibroblasts and in a cell-free in vitro system, and analyzed the effect of each mutation on PCC activity, protein stability and domain structure. The results show that most mutant proteins show an increased turnover and are functionally deficient, suggesting that the structural alterations they cause are incompatible with normal assembly to produce a stable, functional PCC oligomer. These results are discussed in the context of the genotype-phenotype correlations in PCCA-deficient PA patients.

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