Background: Gliomas frequently contain mutations in the cytoplasmic NADP(+)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1) or the mitochondrial NADP(+)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH2). Several different amino acid substitutions recur at either IDH1 R132 or IDH2 R172 in glioma patients. Genetic evidence indicates that these mutations share a common gain of function, but it is unclear whether the shared function is dominant negative activity, neomorphic production of (R)-2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG), or both.
Methodology/principal findings: We show by coprecipitation that five cancer-derived IDH1 R132 mutants bind IDH1-WT but that three cancer-derived IDH2 R172 mutants exert minimal binding to IDH2-WT. None of the mutants dominant-negatively lower isocitrate dehydrogenase activity at physiological (40 µM) isocitrate concentrations in mammalian cell lysates. In contrast to this, all of these mutants confer 10- to 100-fold higher 2HG production to cells, and glioma tissues containing IDH1 R132 or IDH2 R172 mutations contain high levels of 2HG compared to glioma tissues without IDH mutations (54.4 vs. 0.1 mg 2HG/g protein).
Conclusions: Binding to, or dominant inhibition of, WT IDH1 or IDH2 is not a shared feature of the IDH1 and IDH2 mutations, and thus is not likely to be important in cancer. The fact that the gain of the enzymatic activity to produce 2HG is a shared feature of the IDH1 and IDH2 mutations suggests that this is an important function for these mutants in driving cancer pathogenesis.