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J Biol Chem. 1989 Dec 15;264(35):21302-7.

The 3-methylcholanthrene-inducible UDP-glucuronosyltransferase deficiency in the hyperbilirubinemic rat (Gunn rat) is caused by a -1 frameshift mutation.

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Division of Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


The Gunn rat is a mutant strain of Wistar rat which has unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia as a result of the absence of hepatic UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UDPGT) activity toward bilirubin. The Gunn rat is also deficient in a 3-methylcholanthrene (MC)-inducible UDPGT isoenzyme that has high activity toward phenolic substrates. We have isolated and sequenced a cDNA, designated 4-NP UDPGT, which encodes an MC-inducible UDPGT from normal Wistar rat livers (Iyanagi, T., Haniu, M., Sogawa, F., Fujii-Kuriyama, Y., Watanabe, S., Shively, J.E., and Anan, K.F. (1986) J. Biol. Chem. 261, 15607-15614). In the present study, we found that this cDNA detected MC-inducible UDPGT mRNA in the MC-treated homozygous Gunn rat liver. The level of this mRNA, however, was significantly lower than that of normal Wistar livers. The size of mRNA in Gunn rats was identical to that of the functionally mature UDPGT mRNA in Wistar rats, but the MC-inducible UDPGT protein was absent from homozygous Gunn rat microsomes. We therefore made a cDNA library from MC-treated Gunn rat liver mRNA and isolated cDNA clones, using the 4-NP UDPGT cDNA as a probe. Sequencing analysis of these cDNA clones revealed a single base deletion in the coding region. Northern blot analysis of mRNAs from normal Wistar and heterozygous and homozygous Gunn rats livers was performed using specific oligonucleotide probes, and the results confirmed the presence of mRNA containing the single base deletion in heterozygous and homozygous Gunn rats. These data suggested that the defect of the MC-inducible isoenzyme in Gunn rats arises from a -1 frameshift mutation that removes 115 amino acids from the COOH terminus.

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