Characterization of the common genetic defect in humans deficient in debrisoquine metabolism

Nature. 1988 Feb 4;331(6155):442-6. doi: 10.1038/331442a0.


In population studies of individuals given the antihypertensive drug debrisoquine, two distinct phenotypes have been described: extensive metabolizers excrete 10-200 times more of the urinary metabolite 4-hydroxydebrisoquine than poor metabolizers. In family studies the poor-metabolizer phenotype behaves as an autosomal recessive trait with an incidence between 5% and 10% in the white population of Europe and North America, and extends to the deficient metabolism of more than 20 commonly prescribed drugs. Clinical studies have shown that such individuals are at high risk for the development of adverse side effects from these and probably many other drugs. Here we show that poor metabolizers have negligible amounts of the cytochrome P450 enzyme P450db1. We have cloned the human P450db1 complementary DNA and expressed it in mammalian cell culture. Furthermore, by directly cloning and sequencing cDNAs from several poor-metabolizer livers, we have identified three variant messenger RNAs that are products of mutant genes producing incorrectly spliced db1 pre-mRNA, providing a molecular explanation for one of man's most commonly defective genes (frequency of mutant alleles 35-43%).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / genetics*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / deficiency
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Variable Region
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X07618
  • GENBANK/X07619
  • GENBANK/X07620
  • GENBANK/X08006
  • GENBANK/Y00300