Molecular characterization and polymorphisms of butyrylcholinesterase in cynomolgus macaques

J Med Primatol. 2018 Jun;47(3):185-191. doi: 10.1111/jmp.12342. Epub 2018 Mar 24.


Background: Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), an enzyme essential for drug metabolism, has been investigated as antidotes against organophosphorus nerve agents, and the efficacy and safety have been studied in cynomolgus macaques. BChE polymorphisms partly account for variable BChE activities among individuals in humans, but have not been investigated in cynomolgus macaques.

Methods: Molecular characterization was carried out by analyzing primary sequence, gene, tissue expression, and genetic variants.

Results: In cynomolgus and human BChE, phylogenetically closely related, amino acid residues important for enzyme function were conserved, and gene and genomic structure were similar. Cynomolgus BChE mRNA was most abundantly expressed in liver among the 10 tissue types analyzed. Re-sequencing found 26 non-synonymous genetic variants in 121 cynomolgus and 23 rhesus macaques, indicating that macaque BChE is polymorphic, although none of these variants corresponded to the null or defective alleles of human BChE.

Conclusions: These results suggest molecular similarities of cynomolgus and human BChE.

Keywords: drug-metabolizing activity; genetic variants; plasma; rhesus macaque.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / chemistry
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / genetics*
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Macaca fascicularis / genetics*
  • Macaca fascicularis / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Butyrylcholinesterase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/NP_000656
  • GENBANK/NP_000046
  • GENBANK/XP_545267
  • GENBANK/NP_075231
  • GENBANK/NP_033868
  • GENBANK/NM_000055
  • GENBANK/KJ922603