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Hum Mutat. 2003 Jun;21(6):569-76.

Mutations in the molybdenum cofactor biosynthetic genes MOCS1, MOCS2, and GEPH.

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  • 1Institut für Humangenetik der Universitätskliniken Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Molybdenum cofactor deficiency in humans results in the loss of the activity of molybdoenzymes sulfite oxidase, xanthine dehydrogenase, and aldehyde oxidase. The resultant severe phenotype, which includes progressive neurological damage leading in most cases to early childhood death, results primarily from the deficiency of sulfite oxidase. All forms of molybdenum cofactor deficiency are inherited as autosomal recessive traits. The cofactor is an unstable reduced pterin with a unique four-carbon side chain, synthesized by a complex pathway that requires the products of at least four different genes (MOCS1, MOCS2, MOCS3, and GEPH). Disease-causing mutations have been identified in three of these genes: MOCS1, MOCS2, and GEPH. MOCS1 and MOCS2 have a bicistronic architecture; i.e., each gene encodes two proteins in different open reading frames. The protein products, MOCS1A and B and MOCS2A and B, are expressed either from different mRNAs generated by alternative splicing or by independent translation of a bicistronic mRNA. The gephyrin protein, encoded by a third locus, is required during cofactor assembly for insertion of molybdenum. A total of 32 different disease-causing mutations, including several common to more than one family, have been identified in molybdenum cofactor-deficient patients and their relatives.

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