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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Oct;85(20):7666-9.

A missense mutation in the human liver/bone/kidney alkaline phosphatase gene causing a lethal form of hypophosphatasia.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104.


Hypophosphatasia is an inherited disorder characterized by defective bone mineralization and a deficiency of serum and tissue liver/bone/kidney alkaline phosphatase (L/B/K ALP) activity. Clinical severity is variable, ranging from death in utero (due to severe rickets) to pathologic fractures first presenting in adult life. Affected siblings, however, are phenotypically similar. Severe forms of the disease are inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion; heterozygotes often show reduced serum ALP activity. The specific gene defects in hypophosphatasia are unknown but are thought to occur either at the L/B/K ALP locus or within another gene that regulates L/B/K ALP expression. We used the polymerase chain reaction to examine L/B/K ALP cDNA from a patient with a perinatal (lethal) form of the disease. We observed a guanine-to-adenine transition in nucleotide 711 of the cDNA that converts alanine-162 of the mature enzyme to threonine. The affected individual, whose parents are second cousins, is homozygous for the mutant allele. Introduction of this mutation into an otherwise normal cDNA by site-directed mutagenesis abolishes the expression of active enzyme, demonstrating that a defect in the L/B/K ALP gene results in hypophosphatasia and that the enzyme is, therefore, essential for normal skeletal mineralization.

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