Two novel mutant human adenylosuccinate lyases (ASLs) associated with autism and characterization of the equivalent mutant Bacillus subtilis ASL

J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 17;279(51):53789-97. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M409974200. Epub 2004 Oct 7.


An Australian patient with autism was found to be heterozygous for two mutations in the gene encoding adenylosuccinate lyase (ASL), resulting in the protein mutations E80D and D87E. The patient's mother carried only the E80D mutation. The equivalent positions are 62 and 69 in Bacillus subtilis ASL. Although both human and B. subtilis enzymes normally have Asp at position 87 (or 69), the B. subtilis ASL has Ile and Asp at 62 and 65, respectively, whereas human ASL has Glu and Arg at the equivalent positions. We have constructed, expressed, and purified the double mutant I62E/D65R as a "humanized" normal B. subtilis enzyme to compare with enzymes with a single mutation at position 62 (I62D/D65R), at position 69 (I62E/D65R/D69E), or at both positions (I62D/D65R/D69E). V(max) for conversion of adenylosuccinate to AMP and fumarate is 0.57 micromol/min/mg for I62E/D65R, 0.064 micromol/min/mg for I62D/D65R, 0.27 micromol/min/mg for I62E/D65R/D69E, and 0.069 micromol/min/mg for I62D/D65R/D69E. The K(m) for adenylosuccinate is elevated in the X62D mutants, and I62D/D65R is the least stable of these ASLs at 37 degrees C. The CD spectra of mutant and wild type enzymes are similar; thus, there are no appreciable structural changes. Clearly the Asp(62) causes the most drastic effect on ASL function, whereas the Glu(69) mutation produces only modest change. These results emphasize the importance of expanding tests for ASL deficiency to individuals with developmental delay of any severity, including individuals with autistic spectrum disorder. This study further demonstrates the usefulness of the B. subtilis ASL as a model to mimic the defective enzyme in ASL deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / chemistry
  • Adenylosuccinate Lyase / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Aspartic Acid / chemistry
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Circular Dichroism
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / chemistry
  • Heterozygote
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mothers
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Temperature
  • Thermotoga maritima / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • adenylosuccinate
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • DNA
  • Arginine
  • Adenylosuccinate Lyase