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Mol Genet Metab. 2009 Aug;97(4):260-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2009.04.005. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Processing of alkylcobalamins in mammalian cells: A role for the MMACHC (cblC) gene product.

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Department of Cell Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


The MMACHC gene product of the cblC complementation group, referred to as the cblC protein, catalyzes the in vitro and in vivo decyanation of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B(12)). We hypothesized that the cblC protein would also catalyze the dealkylation of newly internalized methylcobalamin (MeCbl) and 5'-deoxyadenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl), the naturally occurring alkylcobalamins that are present in the diet. The hypothesis was tested in cultured endothelial cells using [(57)Co]-AdoCbl and MeCbl analogs consisting of [(57)Co]-labeled straight-chain alkylcobalamins ranging from C2 (ethylcobalamin) to C6 (hexylcobalamin). [(57)Co]-AdoCbl was converted to [(57)Co]-MeCbl by cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells, suggesting that a dealkylation process likely involving the cblC protein removed the 5'-deoxyadenosyl alkyl group. Surprisingly, all of the straight-chain alkylcobalamins served as substrates for the biosynthesis of both AdoCbl and MeCbl. Dealkylation was then assessed in normal skin fibroblasts and fibroblasts derived from three patients with mutations in the MMACHC gene. While normal skin fibroblasts readily converted [(57)Co]-propylcobalamin to [(57)Co]-AdoCbl and [(57)Co]-MeCbl, there was little or no conversion in cblC mutant fibroblasts. These studies suggest that the CblC protein is responsible for early processing of both CNCbl (decyanation) and alkylcobalamins (dealkylation) in mammalian cells.

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