Iminoglycinuria and hyperglycinuria are discrete human phenotypes resulting from complex mutations in proline and glycine transporters

J Clin Invest. 2008 Dec;118(12):3881-92. doi: 10.1172/JCI36625. Epub 2008 Nov 6.


Iminoglycinuria (IG) is an autosomal recessive abnormality of renal transport of glycine and the imino acids proline and hydroxyproline, but the specific genetic defect(s) have not been determined. Similarly, although the related disorder hyperglycinuria (HG) without iminoaciduria has been attributed to heterozygosity of a putative defective glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline transporter, confirming the underlying genetic defect(s) has been difficult. Here we applied a candidate gene sequencing approach in 7 families first identified through newborn IG screening programs. Both inheritance and functional studies identified the gene encoding the proton amino acid transporter SLC36A2 (PAT2) as the major gene responsible for IG in these families, and its inheritance was consistent with a classical semidominant pattern in which 2 inherited nonfunctional alleles conferred the IG phenotype, while 1 nonfunctional allele was sufficient to confer the HG phenotype. Mutations in SLC36A2 that retained residual transport activity resulted in the IG phenotype when combined with mutations in the gene encoding the imino acid transporter SLC6A20 (IMINO). Additional mutations were identified in the genes encoding the putative glycine transporter SLC6A18 (XT2) and the neutral amino acid transporter SLC6A19 (B0AT1) in families with either IG or HG, suggesting that mutations in the genes encoding these transporters may also contribute to these phenotypes. In summary, although recognized as apparently simple Mendelian disorders, IG and HG exhibit complex molecular explanations depending on a major gene and accompanying modifier genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Transport Disorders, Inborn / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Transport Disorders, Inborn / urine
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral / metabolism
  • Family
  • Female
  • Glycine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Glycine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Pedigree*
  • Penetrance*


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Neutral
  • Glycine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • proline transport protein