Low β-glucuronidase enzyme activity and mutations in the human β-glucuronidase gene in mild mucopolysaccharidosis type VII, pseudodeficiency and a heterozygote
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Deficiency of β-glucuronidase is the cause of the human lysosomal storage disorder mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPS VII). The wide interfamilial variation in the presentation of this disorder complicates clinical diagnosis. Since greatly reduced β-glucuronidase enzyme activity may also be found in healthy individuals (pseudodeficiency), diagnosis based on the biochemical phenotype is also difficult. This is illustrated by the patients studied here, who had extremely mild symptoms confined to the spine, or tachycardia, or upper respiratory infection, and who had low β-glucuronidase activity, and excessive granulation of granulocytes and monocytes on routine blood smears. Low enzyme activity was caused by mutations in the β-glucuronidase gene in all cases. One patient was homozygous for the previously described D152N allele. Family information and 35SO4-uptake studies clearly demonstrated that he was pseudodeficient, with symptoms unrelated to his low β-glucuronidase activity. Two patients of another family were compound heterozygotes for a C38G and a Y626H allele, and were probably extremely mild MPS VII patients. The low β-glucuronidase activity in another mild MPS VII patient was due to reduced biosynthesis of stable mRNA from one allele, and a W446X mutation on the second. Extremely low β-glucuronidase enzyme activity was also found in the serum of a carrier of a 1801ΔT allele, possibly as a consequence of a dominant-negative effect. A combination of investigations is necessary in order to differentiate between mild disease and pseudodeficiency in individuals with enzyme activities close to the threshold.
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