Human Mitochondrial HMG-CoA Synthase Deficiency: Role of Enzyme Dimerization Surface and Characterization of Three New Patients

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Mar 28;19(4):1010. doi: 10.3390/ijms19041010.


Mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase deficiency (mitochondrial HMG-CoA synthase deficiency or mHS deficiency, OMIM #605911) is an inborn error of metabolism that affects ketone body synthesis. Acute episodes include vomiting, lethargy, hepatomegaly, hypoglycemia and dicarboxylic aciduria. The diagnosis is difficult due to the relatively unspecific clinical and biochemical presentation, and fewer than 30 patients have been described. This work describes three new patients with mHS deficiency and two missense mutations c.334C>T (p.R112W) and c.430G>T (p.V144L) previously not reported. We developed a new method to express and measure the activity of the enzyme and in this work the study is extended to ten new missense variants including those of our patients. Enzymatic assays showed that three of the mutant proteins retained some but seven completely lacked activity. The identification of a patient homozygous for a mutation that retains 70% of enzyme activity opens the door to a new interpretation of the disease by demonstrating that a modest impairment of enzyme function can actually produce symptoms. This is also the first study employing molecular dynamics modelling of the enzyme mutations. We show that the correct maintenance of the dimerization surface is crucial for retaining the structure of the active center and therefore the activity of the enzyme.

Keywords: deficiency; enzyme dimerization; ketone bodies; mitochondrial HMG-CoA synthase; mutations.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Synthase / deficiency*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / enzymology
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / genetics
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors* / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / deficiency*
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Protein Multimerization*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Synthase