Inherited disorders in the conversion of methionine to homocysteine

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2009 Aug;32(4):459-71. doi: 10.1007/s10545-009-1146-4. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


During the last decade much important new information relating to the metabolic pathway from methionine to homocysteine has been gained. Interest has been stimulated by the discovery of two novel disorders, glycine N-methyltransferase deficiency and S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase deficiency. Another disorder in this pathway, methionine adenosyltransferase deficiency, has been increasingly detected, thanks to the expansion of newborn screening programmes by tandem mass spectrometry technology. These significant steps allow important insight into the pathogenesis of these three disorders, as well as into the mechanisms of damage to various organs (liver, brain, muscle) and point to the relevance of these disorders for crucial biological processes such as methylation, transsulfuration or carcinogenesis in mammals, the pathogenesis of numerous pathological conditions, in particular those associated with hyperhomocysteinaemia, the action and possible toxicity of some drugs or consequences of nutritional variations. This review summarizes current knowledge of three inherited disorders in this metabolic pathway and draws attention to their much broader significance for human health and understanding of important biological processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosylhomocysteinase / genetics
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Glycine N-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Homocysteine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Methionine / metabolism*
  • Methionine Adenosyltransferase / genetics
  • Models, Biological


  • Homocysteine
  • Methionine
  • GNMT protein, human
  • Glycine N-Methyltransferase
  • Methionine Adenosyltransferase
  • Adenosylhomocysteinase

Associated data

  • OMIM/180960
  • OMIM/250850
  • OMIM/606664