Defective glycine cleavage system in nonketotic hyperglycinemia. Occurrence of a less active glycine decarboxylase and an abnormal aminomethyl carrier protein

Hiraga, K.; Kochi, H.; Hayasaka, K.; Kikuchi, G.; Nyhan, W.L.

Journal of Clinical Investigation 68(2): 525-534


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9738
PMID: 6790577
DOI: 10.1172/jci110284
Accession: 042742494

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The activities of then glycine cleavage system in the liver and brain of patient with nonketotic hyperglycinemia was extremely low as compared with those of control human liver and brain. The activities of glycine decarboxylase (P-protein) and the aminomethyl carrier protein (H-protein), two of the four protein components of the glycine cleavage system, were considerably reduced in both the liver and brain; the extent of reduction was greater in the H-protein. The activity of the T-protein was normal. Purified H-protein from the patient did not react with lipoamide dehydrogenase, and titration of thiol groups with [2,3-14C]N-ethylmaleimide suggested that this H-protein is devoid of lipoic acid. This structural abnormality in the H-protein is considered to constitute the primary molecular lesion in this patient with non-ketotic hyperglycinemia. Immunochemical studies using an antibody specific for P-protein showed that the patient was due to reduction of the catalytic activity of the protein rather than a decrease in the actual amount of the P-protein. Partial inactivation of P-protein could result secondarily from impaired metabolism of glycine resulting from deficiency in the activity of H-protein. However, the H-protein from the patient could stimulate the P-protein catalyzed exchange of the carboxyl carbon of glycine with 14CO2, although the specific activity of the purified H-protein from the patient was only 4% of that of control human H-protein. The content of H-protein in the liver of the patient was approximately 35% of that of control human liver.