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Drug Metab Dispos. 2003 Feb;31(2):187-93.

Identification of novel variants of the flavin-containing monooxygenase gene family in African Americans.

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  • 1Environmental Toxicology Program, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Sequence polymorphisms in enzymes involved in drug metabolism have been widely implicated in the differences observed in the sensitivity to various xenobiotics. The flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) gene family in humans catalyzes the monooxygenation of numerous N-, P- and S-containing drugs, pesticides, and environmental toxicants. Six genes (FMO1-6) have been identified so far, but the major alleles of FMO2 and FMO6 encode nonfunctional proteins due to a nonsense mutation and splice-site abnormalities, respectively. Data on structural variants exist for human FMO2 and 3, whereas very little is known about the other FMO genes. FMO1-6 were scanned in 50 individuals of African-American descent using the method, detection of virtually all mutations-single-strand conformational polymorphism. A total of 49 sequence variants were identified in a total 1.35 megabases of scanned sequence, of which 29 were variants affecting protein structure or expression. Some of these are expected to affect the activity of the protein, including a nonsense mutation in FMO1 (R502X) and missense mutations in FMO1 (I303T), FMO4 (E339Q), and FMO5 (P457L) that occur in highly conserved amino acids. Additional deleterious substitutions in FMO2 (del337G) and FMO6 (Q105X) were also identified. Multiple structural variants in the FMO gene family were observed in this African-American sample. Some of the substitutions identified in this study might be useful markers in future association studies assessing sensitivity to environmental toxicants and common disease.

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