Functional methionine synthase deficiency (cblE and cblG): clinical and biochemical heterogeneity

Am J Med Genet. 1989 Nov;34(3):427-34. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320340320.


Functional methionine synthase deficiency is generally characterized by homocystinuria and hypomethioninemia in the absence of methylmalonic aciduria. Patients are divided into two classes, cblE and cblG, on the basis of complementation analysis. Presentation has usually been in the first 2 years of life, but one patient came to medical attention at age 21 years with symptoms initially diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Common findings among 11 patients (4 with cblE and 7 with cblG) have included megaloblastic anemia (all patients) and various neurological deficits including developmental retardation (10 patients), cerebral atrophy (8 patients), hypotonia (7 patients), EEG abnormalities (6 patients), and nystagmus (5 patients). Hypertonia, seizures, blindness, and ataxia were less frequent. All patients have responded to therapy with cobalamin with resolution of anemia and biochemical abnormalities; neurological deficits resolved more slowly and in some cases incompletely. Hydroxycobalamin has been more effective than cyanocobalamin. Fibroblasts from patients with cblE (5 patients) and cblG (6 patients) all showed decreased intracellular levels of methylcobalamin (MeCbl) and decreased incorporation of label from 5-methyltetrahydrofolate into macromolecules, suggesting decreased activity of the MeCbl-dependent enzyme methionine synthase. Methionine synthase specific activity in extracts of all cblE fibroblasts was normal or near-normal under standard reducing conditions; synthase specific activity in extracts of 5 cblG patients was low but was high in a 6th patient measured in another laboratory. Thus, there is heterogeneity among patients with functional methionine synthase deficiency both in clinical presentation and in the results of biochemical studies of cultured cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase / deficiency*
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Megaloblastic / etiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Homocystinuria / enzymology*
  • Homocystinuria / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Methionine / blood
  • Methionine / deficiency*
  • Methyltransferases / deficiency*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Vitamin B 12 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Vitamin B 12 / therapeutic use


  • Methionine
  • mecobalamin
  • Methyltransferases
  • 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate-Homocysteine S-Methyltransferase
  • Vitamin B 12