Acute intermittent porphyria results from hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS) mutations that markedly decrease HMBS enzymatic activity. This dominant disease is diagnosed when heterozygotes have life-threatening acute attacks, while most heterozygotes remain asymptomatic and undiagnosed. Although >400 HMBS mutations have been reported, the prevalence of pathogenic HMBS mutations in genomic/exomic databases, and the actual disease penetrance are unknown. Thus, we interrogated genomic/exomic databases, identified non-synonymous variants (NSVs) and consensus splice-site variants (CSSVs) in various demographic/racial groups, and determined the NSV's pathogenicity by prediction algorithms and in vitro expression assays. Caucasians had the most: 58 NSVs and two CSSVs among ∼92,000 alleles, a 0.00575 combined allele frequency. In silico algorithms predicted 14 out of 58 NSVs as "likely-pathogenic." In vitro expression identified 10 out of 58 NSVs as likely-pathogenic (seven predicted in silico), which together with two CSSVs had a combined allele frequency of 0.00056. Notably, six presumably pathogenic mutations/NSVs in the Human Gene Mutation Database were benign. Compared with the recent prevalence estimate of symptomatic European heterozygotes (∼0.000005), the prevalence of likely-pathogenic HMBS mutations among Caucasians was >100 times more frequent. Thus, the estimated penetrance of acute attacks was ∼1% of heterozygotes with likely-pathogenic mutations, highlighting the importance of predisposing/protective genes and environmental modifiers that precipitate/prevent the attacks.
Keywords: allele frequency; allele prevalence; disease penetrance; in silico prediction; in vitro expression.
© 2016 WILEY PERIODICALS, INC.