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Vol. 98, No. 2, 2004
Issue release date: October 2004
Nephron Exp Nephrol 2004;98:e39–e44

Molecular Aetiology of Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 1

Danpure C.J.
Department of Biology, University College London, London, UK

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Primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder, caused by a deficiency of the liver-specific intermediary-metabolic enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT). AGT deficiency results in increased synthesis and excretion of the metabolic end-product oxalate and the deposition of insoluble calcium oxalate in the kidney and urinary tract. Numerous mutations and polymorphisms have been identified in the gene (AGXT) that encodes AGT, some of which interact synergistically to cause a variety of complex enzyme phenotypes, including AGT intraperoxisomal aggregation, accelerated degradation, and peroxisome-to-mitochondrion mistargeting. The latter is the single most common cause of PH1 and results from the functional interaction between a common Pro11Leu polymorphism and a disease-specific Gly170Arg mutation. The recent solution of the crystal structure of AGT has enabled the effects of several mutations and polymorphisms to be rationalised in terms of their likely effects on AGT conformation. Increased understanding of the molecular aetiology of PH1 has led to significant improvements in all aspects of the clinical management of the disorder, including diagnosis (by enzyme assay of percutaneous needle liver biopsies), prenatal diagnosis (by DNA analysis of chorionic villus samples) and treatment (by liver transplantation as a form of enzyme replacement therapy).

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