Methionine synthase catalyzes the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine in a methylcobalamin-dependent reaction. We used specific regions of homology within the methionine synthase sequences of several lower organisms to clone a human methionine synthase cDNA by a combination of RT-PCR and inverse PCR. The enzyme is 1265 amino acids in length and contains the seven residue structure-based sequence fingerprint identified for cobalamin-containing enzymes. The gene was localized to chromosome 1q43 by the FISH technique. We have identified one missense mutation and a 3 bp deletion in patients of the cbIG complementation group of inherited homocysteine/folate disorders by SSCP and sequence analysis, as well as an amino acid substitution present in high frequency in the general population. We discuss the possibility that a mild deficiency of methionine synthase activity could be associated with mild hyperhomocysteinemia, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and possibly neural tube defects.
Journal Article. 3862 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Genetics and Genomics
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