Homozygous nonsense mutation in the MCEE gene and siRNA suppression of methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase expression: a novel cause of mild methylmalonic aciduria.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Canada.
Methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase (MCE) catalyzes the interconversion of D- and L-methylmalonyl-CoA in the pathway responsible for the degradation of branched chain amino acids, odd chain-length fatty acids, and other metabolites. Despite the occurrence of metabolic disorders in the enzymatic step occurring immediately upstream of MCE (propionyl-CoA carboxylase) and downstream of MCE (adenosylcobalamin-dependent methylmalonyl-CoA mutase), no disease-causing mutations have been described affecting MCE itself. A patient, formerly identified as belonging to the cblA complementation group of vitamin B12 disorders but lacking mutations in the affected gene, MMAA, was tested for mutations in the MCEE gene. The patient's fibroblasts had normal levels of adenosylcobalamin compared to controls, whereas other cblA cell lines typically had reduced levels of the cofactor. As well, this patient had a milder form of methylmalonic aciduria than usually observed in cblA patients. The patient was found to be homozygous for a c.139C>T (p.R47X) mutation in MCEE by sequence analysis that was confirmed by restriction digestion of PCR products. One sibling, also with mild methylmalonic aciduria, was homozygous for the mutation. Both parents and one other sibling were heterozygous. A nearby insertion polymorphism, c.41-160_161insT, heterozygous in both parents, showed the wild-type configuration on the mutant alleles. To assess the impact of isolated MCE deficiency in cultured cells, HeLa cells were transfected with a selectable vector containing MCEE-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) to suppress gene expression. The reduced level of MCEE mRNA resulted in the reduction of [14C]-propionate incorporation into cellular macromolecules. However, siRNA only led to a small reduction in pathway activity, suggesting that previously postulated non-enzymatic conversion of D- to L-methylmalonyl-CoA may contribute to some flux through the pathway. We conclude that the patient's MCEE defect was responsible for the mild methylmalonic aciduria, confirming a partial requirement for the enzymatic activity in humans.
Mesh Terms:
Cell Culture Techniques, Cell Line, Child, Codon, Nonsense, Female, Fibroblasts, Genetic Complementation Test, HeLa Cells, Homozygote, Humans, Male, Membrane Transport Proteins, Metabolism, Inborn Errors, Methylmalonic Acid, Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins, Mitochondrial Proteins, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA Interference, RNA, Small Interfering, Racemases and Epimerases, Transfection
Mol. Genet. Metab. Aug. 01, 2006; 88(4);327-33 [PUBMED:16697227]
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