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Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Aug 1;21(15):3435-48. doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds175. Epub 2012 May 18.

Molecular mechanisms of riboflavin responsiveness in patients with ETF-QO variations and multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenation deficiency.

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The Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.


Riboflavin-responsive forms of multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenation deficiency (RR-MADD) have been known for years, but with presumed defects in the formation of the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) co-factor rather than genetic defects of electron transfer flavoprotein (ETF) or electron transfer flavoprotein-ubiquinone oxidoreductase (ETF-QO). It was only recently established that a number of RR-MADD patients carry genetic defects in ETF-QO and that the well-documented clinical efficacy of riboflavin treatment may be based on a chaperone effect that can compensate for inherited folding defects of ETF-QO. In the present study, we investigate the molecular mechanisms and the genotype-phenotype relationships for the riboflavin responsiveness in MADD, using a human HEK-293 cell expression system. We studied the influence of riboflavin and temperature on the steady-state level and the activity of variant ETF-QO proteins identified in patients with RR-MADD, or non- and partially responsive MADD. Our results showed that variant ETF-QO proteins associated with non- and partially responsive MADD caused severe misfolding of ETF-QO variant proteins when cultured in media with supplemented concentrations of riboflavin. In contrast, variant ETF-QO proteins associated with RR-MADD caused milder folding defects when cultured at the same conditions. Decreased thermal stability of the variants showed that FAD does not completely correct the structural defects induced by the variation. This may cause leakage of electrons and increased reactive oxygen species, as reflected by increased amounts of cellular peroxide production in HEK-293 cells expressing the variant ETF-QO proteins. Finally, we found indications of prolonged association of variant ETF-QO protein with the Hsp60 chaperonin in the mitochondrial matrix, supporting indications of folding defects in the variant ETF-QO proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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