, Volume 117, Issue 5, pp 467-475
Date: 18 Jun 2005

The Q283P amino-acid change in HFE leads to structural and functional consequences similar to those described for the mutated 282Y HFE protein

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In Caucasians, 4–35% of hemochromatosis patients carry at least one chromosome without a common HFE mutation (i.e. C282Y, H63D and S65C). Several studies have now shown that iron overload phenotypes in such patients can be associated with uncommon HFE mutations. We previously supported implication of the C282Y/Q283P compound heterozygous genotype in hemochromatosis phenotypes and, based on molecular dynamics simulations, proposed that the Q283P substitution prevents normal folding of the HFE α3-domain. In the current work, we have used HeLa cells carrying wild-type or Q283P-mutant HFE cDNA under the control of a tetracycline-sensitive promoter to functionally characterise the Q283P mutation. Experiments using cells over-expressing wild-type HFE confirm the existence of β2microglobulin(β2m)/HFE and HFE/transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) interactions, as well as the capacity of HFE to reduce transferrin-mediated iron uptake. In contrast, neither β2m/HFE nor HFE/TfR1 complex formation was detected in cells over-expressing the mutated form of HFE. Moreover, the 283P HFE protein was found to have a very limited effect on the major cellular iron uptake pathway. Combined, our results indicate that the Q283P mutation leads to structural and functional consequences similar to those described for the main hereditary hemochromatosis mutation. As a consequence, our study has implications for the screening of hemochromatosis patients that have one or two copies of HFE which lack the main mutations. It also highlights that protein structure prediction methods could be more generally used to better interpret relationships between rare genotypes and molecular diagnosis of a human inherited disorder.