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J Clin Invest. 1993 Feb;91(2):677-83.

Genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity in familial lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) deficiency. Six newly identified defective alleles further contribute to the structural heterogeneity in this disease.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of M√ľnster, Federal Republic of Germany.


The presence of lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) deficiency in six probands from five families originating from four different countries was confirmed by the absence or near absence of LCAT activity. Also, other invariate symptoms of LCAT deficiency, a significant increase of unesterified cholesterol in plasma lipoproteins and the reduction of plasma HDL-cholesterol to levels below one-tenth of normal, were present in all probands. In the probands from two families, no mass was detectable, while in others reduced amounts of LCAT mass indicated the presence of a functionally inactive protein. Sequence analysis identified homozygous missense or nonsense mutations in four probands. Two probands from one family both were found to be compound heterozygotes for a missense mutation and for a single base insertion causing a reading frame-shift. Subsequent family analyses were carried out using mutagenic primers for carrier identification. LCAT activity and LCAT mass in 23 genotypic heterozygotes were approximately half normal and clearly distinct from those of 20 unaffected family members. In the homozygous patients no obvious relationship between residual LCAT activity and the clinical phenotype was seen. The observation that the molecular defects in LCAT deficiency are dispersed in different regions of the enzyme suggests the existence of several functionally important structural domains in this enzyme.

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