Molecular Medicine

, Volume 16, Issue 9–10, pp 381–388 | Cite as

Feline Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria: Two Homozygous UROS Missense Mutations Cause the Enzyme Deficiency and Porphyrin Accumulation

  • Sonia Clavero
  • David F. Bishop
  • Urs Giger
  • Mark E. Haskins
  • Robert J. Desnick
Research Article


The first feline model of human congenital erythropoietic porphyria (CEP) due to deficient uroporphyrinogen III synthase (URO-synthase) activity was identified by its characteristic clinical phenotype, and confirmed by biochemical and molecular genetic studies. The proband, an adult domestic shorthair cat, had dark-red urine and brownish discolored teeth with red fluorescence under ultraviolet light. Biochemical studies demonstrated markedly increased uroporphyrinogen I in urine and plasma (2,650- and 10,700-fold greater than wild type, respectively), whereas urinary 5-aminolevulinic acid and porphobilinogen were lower than normal. Erythrocytic URO-synthase activity was <1% of mean wild-type activity, confirming the diagnosis and distinguishing it from feline phenocopies having acute intermittent porphyria. Sequencing of the affected cat’s UROS gene revealed two missense mutations, c.140C>T (p.S47F) in exon 3 and c.331G>A (p.G111S) in exon 6, both of which were homozygous, presumably owing to parental consanguinity. Neither was present in 100 normal cat alleles. Prokaryotic expression and thermostability studies of the purified monomeric wild-type, p.S47F, p.G111S, and p.S47F/G111S enzymes showed that the p.S47F enzyme had 100% of wild-type specific activity but ∼50% decreased thermostability, whereas the p.G111S and p.S47F/G111S enzymes had about 60% and 20% of wild-type specific activity, respectively, and both were markedly thermolabile. Molecular modeling results indicated that the less active/less stable p.G111S enzyme was further functionally impaired by a structural interaction induced by the presence of the S47F substitution. Thus, the synergistic interaction of two rare amino acid substitutions in the URO-synthase polypeptide caused the feline model of human CEP.



We thank Dr. Susan Walter of the Amherst Veterinary Hospital, Amherst, Wisconsin, for diagnosis of the proband and collection of the proband’s samples. This work was supported in part by grants (R01 DK26824 to RJ Desnick and P40 RR002512 to ME Haskins) from the National Institutes of Health and a contract (C024404 to DF Bishop) from the State of New York Department of Health.


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Copyright information

© The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Clavero
    • 1
  • David F. Bishop
    • 1
  • Urs Giger
    • 2
  • Mark E. Haskins
    • 2
  • Robert J. Desnick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics and Genomic SciencesMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Section of Medical Genetics, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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