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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tetrahydrobiopterin deficiency: assay for 6-pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin synthase activity in erythrocytes, and detection of patients and heterozygous carriers.

6-Pyruvoyl-tetrahydropterin synthase (PTS), a key enzyme in the synthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin in man, is defective in the most frequent variant of tetrahydrobiopterin-deficient hyperphenylalaninaemia (atypical phenylketonuria). An assay for PTS activity in erythrocytes was developed. It is based on the PTS-catalysed formation of tetrahydrobiopterin from dihydroneopterin triphosphate in the presence of magnesium, sepiapterin reductase, NADPH, dihydropteridine reductase, and NADH, and fluorimetric measurement of the product as biopterin by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after oxidation with iodine. The PTS activity was higher in younger erythrocytes, including reticulocytes, than in older ones. Fetal erythrocytes showed approx. four times higher activities than those of adults. Using a more purified human liver sepiapterin reductase fraction which gave a lower yield than a crude preparation, adult controls (n = 8) showed a mean erythrocyte PTS activity of 17.6 (range 11.0-29.5) microU/g Hb. Nine of 11 patients with typical PTS deficiency showed activities between 0% and 8% of the mean of controls, and two of 11 showed 14% and 20%, respectively. The obligate heterozygotes (n = 16) had activities of 19% (range 8%-31%) of the mean of controls, i.e., significantly less than the expected 50%. Four patients with the "peripheral" type of the disease showed 7%-10% of the mean of controls. Thus, the assay did not distinguish between patients and heterozygotes in every family. The assay is well suited to the identification of heterozygotes of PTS deficiency in family studies.[1]


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