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Am J Hum Genet. 1989 Jun;44(6):844-54.

Rare deficiency types of alpha 1-antitrypsin: electrophoretic variation and DNA haplotypes.

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  • 1Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


A deficiency of the plasma protease inhibitor alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha 1AT), is usually associated with the deficiency allele PI*Z. However, other alleles can also produce a deficiency. Some of these rare deficiency alleles produce a low concentration (3%-15% of normal) of alpha 1AT and include Mmalton, Mduarte, Mheerlen, and Mprocida. Null, or nonproducing, alleles are associated with trace amounts (less than 1%) of plasma alpha 1AT. We have identified, using isoelectric focusing, the deficiency alleles in 222 patients (68 children and 154 adults) with alpha 1AT deficiency. In addition to PI*Z, we found low-producing alleles PI*Mmalton and PI*Mcobalt and four null (PI*QO) alleles. On the basis of a population frequency of .0122 for PI*Z, frequencies for other deficiency alleles are 1.1 x 10(-4) for PI*Mmalton, 2.5 x 10(-5) for PI*Mcobalt (which may be the same as that for PI*Mduarte, and 1.4 x 10(-4) for all null alleles combined. Using 12 polymorphic restriction sites with seven different restriction enzymes, we have obtained DNA haplotypes for each of the rare deficiency types. All of the rare deficiency alleles can be distinguished from PI*Z by their DNA haplotype, and most can be distinguished from each other. DNA haplotypes are useful to indicate the presence of new types of null alleles, to identify genetic compounds for rare deficiency alleles, and to identify the original normal allele from which each deficiency allele is derived.

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