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J Biol Chem. 1998 Apr 24;273(17):10296-301.

Alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase. Fate in peroxisome biogenesis disorders and identification of the point mutation underlying a single enzyme deficiency.

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Centre for Biomembranes and Lipid Enzymology, Institute for Biomembranes, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Peroxisomes play an indispensible role in ether lipid biosynthesis as evidenced by the deficiency of ether phospholipids in fibroblasts and tissues from patients suffering from a number of peroxisomal disorders. Alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase, a peroxisomal enzyme playing a key role in the biosynthesis of ether phospholipids, contains the peroxisomal targeting signal type 2 in a N-terminal cleavable presequence. Using a polyclonal antiserum raised against alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase, levels of this enzyme were examined in fibroblast cell lines from patients affected by peroxisomal disorders. Strongly reduced levels were found in fibroblasts of Zellweger syndrome and rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata patients, indicating that the enzyme is not stable in the cytoplasm as a result of defective import into peroxisomes. In a neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy patient with an isolated import deficiency of proteins carrying the peroxisomal targeting signal type 1, the precursor form of alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase was detected at a level comparable to that of the mature form in control fibroblasts, in line with an intraperoxisomal localization. A patient with an isolated deficiency in alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate (DHAP) synthase activity had normal levels of this protein. Analysis at the cDNA level revealed a missense mutation leading to a R419H substitution in the enzyme of this patient. Expression of a recombinant protein carrying this mutation in Escherichia coli yielded an inactive enzyme, whereas a comparable control recombinant enzyme was active, providing further proof that this substitution is responsible for the inactivity of the enzyme and the phenotype. In line with this result is the observation that wild-type alkyl-DHAP synthase activity can be inactivated by the arginine-modifying agent phenylglyoxal. The enzyme is efficiently protected against this inactivation when the substrate palmitoyl-DHAP is present at a saturating concentration. The gene encoding human alkyl-dihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase was mapped on chromosome 2q31.

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