Inter and intra-ethnic differences in the distribution of the molecular variants of TPMT, UGT1A1 and MDR1 genes in the South Indian population


Molecular variants of polymorphic drug metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters are attributed to differences in individual’s therapeutic response and drug toxicity in different populations. We sought to determine the genotype and allele frequencies of polymorphisms for major phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes (TPMT, UGT1A1) and drug transporter (MDR1) in South Indians. Allelic variants of TPMT (*2,*3A,*3B,*3C & *8), UGT1A1 (TA)6>7 and MDR1 (2677G>T/A & 3435C>T) were evaluated in 450–608 healthy South Indian subjects. Genomic DNA was extracted by phenol–chloroform method and genotype was determined by PCR–RFLP, qRT-PCR, allele specific PCR, direct sequencing and SNaPshot techniques. The frequency distributions of TPMT, UGT1A1 and MDR1 gene polymorphisms were compared between the individual 4 South Indian populations viz., Tamilian, Kannadiga, Andhrite and Keralite. The combined frequency distribution of the South Indian populations together, was also compared with that of other major populations. The allele frequencies of TPMT*3C, UGT1A1 (TA)7, MDR1 2677T, 2677A and 3435T were 1.2, 39.8, 60.3, 3.7, and 61.6% respectively. The other variant alleles such as TPMT*2, *3A, *3B and *8 were not identified in the South Indian population. Sub-population analysis showed that the distribution of UGT1A1 (TA)6>7 and MDR1 allelic variants differed between the four ethnic groups. However, the frequencies of TPMT*3C allele were similar in the four South Indian populations. The distribution of TPMT, UGT1A1 and MDR1 gene polymorphisms of the South Indian population was significantly different from other populations.

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The study was funded by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, India. The authors thank Ms. G. Saraswathy and Ms. S. Indhumathy for excellent technical assistance and Mrs. K. Yogalaksmi for collection and storage of blood samples. We are grateful to Dr. A. Surendiran and Mrs. M. Aarthi for assistance in language editing. Finally the effort of Mr. S. Kamalprashad during the initial stage of the study is highly appreciated.

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Correspondence to Gurusamy Umamaheswaran.

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Umamaheswaran, G., Krishna Kumar, D., Kayathiri, D. et al. Inter and intra-ethnic differences in the distribution of the molecular variants of TPMT, UGT1A1 and MDR1 genes in the South Indian population. Mol Biol Rep 39, 6343–6351 (2012).

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  • MDR1
  • Polymorphism
  • South Indians
  • TPMT
  • UGT1A1