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Hum Mutat. 2017 Aug;38(8):988-1001. doi: 10.1002/humu.23251. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

Protein destabilization and loss of protein-protein interaction are fundamental mechanisms in cblA-type methylmalonic aciduria.

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Division of Metabolism and Children's Research Center, University Children's, Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Structural Genomics Consortium, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
radiz - Rare Disease Initiative Zurich, Clinical Research Priority Program for Rare Diseases, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Mutations in the human MMAA gene cause the metabolic disorder cblA-type methylmalonic aciduria (MMA), although knowledge of the mechanism of dysfunction remains lacking. MMAA regulates the incorporation of the cofactor adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl), generated from the MMAB adenosyltransferase, into the destination enzyme methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT). This function of MMAA depends on its GTPase activity, which is stimulated by an interaction with MUT. Here, we present 67 new patients with cblA-type MMA, identifying 19 novel mutations. We biochemically investigated how missense mutations in MMAA in 22 patients lead to disease. About a third confer instability to the recombinant protein in bacterial and human expression systems. All 15 purified mutant proteins demonstrated wild-type like intrinsic GTPase activity and only one (p.Asp292Val), where the mutation is in the GTP binding domain, revealed decreased GTP binding. However, all mutations strongly decreased functional association with MUT by reducing GTPase activity stimulation upon incubation with MUT, while nine mutant proteins additionally lost the ability to physically bind MUT. Finally, all mutations interfered with gating the transfer of AdoCbl from MMAB to MUT. This work suggests loss of functional interaction between MMAA and MUT as a disease-causing mechanism that impacts processing and assembly of a cofactor to its destination enzyme.


MMAA; cblA-type methylmalonic aciduria; methylmalonyl-CoA mutase; missense variants; patient cohort; protein-protein interaction; vitamin B12

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