, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 195-207

A review of the molecular basis of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) deficiency

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Abstract

Hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT, EC 2.4.2.8) is a purine salvage enzyme that catalyses the conversion of hypoxanthine and guanine to their respective mononucleotides. Partial deficiency of this enzyme can result in the overproduction of uric acid leading to a severe form of gout, whilst a virtual absence of HPRT activity causes the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome which is characterised by hyperuricaemia, mental retardation, choreoathetosis and compulsive self-mutilation. The HPRT-encoding gene is located on the X chromosome in the region q26–q27 and consists of nine exons and eight introns totalling 57 kb. This gene is transcribed to produce an mRNA of 1.6 kb, which contains a protein encoding region of 654 nucleotides. With the advent of increasingly refined techniques of molecular biology, it has been possible to study the HPRT gene of individuals with a deficiency in HPRT activity to determine the genetic basis of the enzyme deficiency. Many different mutations throughout the coding region have been described, but in the absence of precise information on the three-dimensional structure of the HPRT protein, it remains difficult to determine any consistent correlation between the structure and function of the enzyme.