Graca, Rafael; Fernandes, Rafael; Alves, Ana Catarina; Menezes, Juliane; Romao, Luisa; Bourbon, Mafalda

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is the most common genetic disorder of lipid metabolism, characterized by increased levels of total and LDL plasma cholesterol, which leads to premature atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. FH phenotype has considerable genetic heterogeneity and phenotypic variability, depending on LDL receptor activity and lifestyle. To improve diagnosis and patient management, here, we characterized two single nucleotide missense substitutions at Methionine 1 of the human LDLR gene (c.1A>T/p.(Met1Leu) and c.1A>C/p.(Met1Leu)). We used a combination of Western blot, flow cytometry, and luciferase assays to determine the effects of both variants on the expression, activity, and synthesis of LDLR. Our data show that both variants can mediate translation initiation, although the expression of variant c.1A>T is very low. Both variants are in the translation initiation codon and codify for the same amino acid p.(Met1Leu), yet they lead to different levels of impairment on LDLR expression and activity, corroborating different efficiencies of the translation initiation at these non-canonical initiation codons. The functional data of these variants allowed for an improved American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) classification for both variants, which can allow a more personalized choice of the lipid-lowering treatment and dyslipidemia management, ultimately improving patients’ prognosis.

Doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9091219

Cited as: Graça, Rafael, Rafael Fernandes, Ana C. Alves, Juliane Menezes, Luísa Romão, and Mafalda Bourbon. 2021. “Characterization of Two Variants at Met 1 of the Human LDLR Gene Encoding the Same Amino Acid but Causing Different Functional Phenotypes” Biomedicines 9, no. 9: 1219.