Mitochondrial aspartate glutamate carrier (citrin) deficiency as the cause of adult-onset type II citrullinemia (CTLN2) and idiopathic neonatal hepatitis (NICCD)

J Hum Genet. 2002;47(7):333-41. doi: 10.1007/s100380200046.


By using homozygosity mapping and positional cloning, we have shown that adult-onset type II citrullinemia (CTLN2) is caused by mutations of the SLC25A13 gene, which is localized on chromosome 7q21.3 and encodes a mitochondrial solute carrier protein named citrin. So far, we have reported nine mutations, most of which cause loss of citrin, and we have established several methods for DNA diagnosis. These methods have shown that more than 90% of the patients diagnosed as suffering from CTLN2 by enzymatic analysis carry SLC25A13 mutations in both alleles, indicating that CTLN2 is caused by citrin deficiency. Furthermore, by using the same DNA diagnosis methods, we discovered that 70 neonates or infants suffering from a particular type of neonatal hepatitis carry the same SLC25A13 mutations. Since the symptoms of the neonates are different from those of the more severe CTLN2 and usually ameliorate without special treatment, we designated the neonatal disease neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD). We conclude that citrin deficiency causes NICCD in neonates and CTLN2 in adults through the additional effects of genetic or environmental modifiers. Since the function of citrin, together with that of an isoform, aralar, was found to be as a mitochondrial aspartate glutamate carrier, the various symptoms of NICCD and CTLN2 may be understood as caused by defective aspartate export from the mitochondria to the cytosol and defects in the malate aspartate shuttle. It is, however, still difficult to understand the cause of the hepatic deficiency of argininosuccinate synthetase protein in CTLN2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase / genetics
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase / metabolism
  • Child
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic / etiology
  • Citrullinemia / etiology*
  • Citrullinemia / genetics
  • Citrullinemia / physiopathology
  • Citrullinemia / therapy
  • Gene Frequency
  • Hepatitis / etiology*
  • Hepatitis / genetics
  • Hepatitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / deficiency*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / deficiency*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • SLC25A12 protein, human
  • SLC25A13 protein, human
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase