β-Ureidopropionase is the third enzyme of the pyrimidine degradation pathway and catalyses the conversion of N-carbamyl-β-alanine and N-carbamyl-β-aminoisobutyric acid to β-alanine and β-aminoisobutyric acid, ammonia and CO2. To date, only a limited number of genetically confirmed patients with a complete β-ureidopropionase deficiency have been reported. Here, we report on the clinical, biochemical and molecular findings of 10 newly identified β-ureidopropionase deficient individuals. Patients presented mainly with neurological abnormalities and markedly elevated levels of N-carbamyl-β-alanine and N-carbamyl-β-aminoisobutyric acid in urine. Analysis of UPB1, encoding β-ureidopropionase, showed 5 novel missense variants and two novel splice-site variants. Functional expression of the UPB1 variants in mammalian cells showed that recombinant ß-ureidopropionase carrying the p.Ala120Ser, p.Thr129Met, p.Ser300Leu and p.Asn345Ile variant yielded no or significantly decreased β-ureidopropionase activity. Analysis of the crystal structure of human ß-ureidopropionase indicated that the point mutations affect substrate binding or prevent the proper subunit association to larger oligomers and thus a fully functional β-ureidopropionase. A minigene approach showed that the intronic variants c.[364 + 6 T > G] and c.[916 + 1_916 + 2dup] led to skipping of exon 3 and 8, respectively, in the process of UPB1 pre-mRNA splicing. The c.[899C > T] (p.Ser300Leu) variant was identified in two unrelated Swedish β-ureidopropionase patients, indicating that β-ureidopropionase deficiency may be more common than anticipated.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Bernhard Lohkamp for stimulating discussions.
© 2022 The Authors