Phenylketonuria Diagnosis by Massive Parallel Sequencing and Genotype-Phenotype Association in Brazilian Patients

Genes (Basel). 2020 Dec 25;12(1):20. doi: 10.3390/genes12010020.


Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a common inborn error of amino acid metabolism in which the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase, which converts phenylalanine to tyrosine, is functionally impaired due to pathogenic variants in the PAH gene. Thirty-four Brazilian patients with a biochemical diagnosis of PKU, from 33 unrelated families, were analyzed through next-generation sequencing in the Ion Torrent PGM™ platform. Phenotype-genotype correlations were made based on the BioPKU database. Three patients required additional Sanger sequencing analyses. Twenty-six different pathogenic variants were identified. The most frequent variants were c.1315+1G>A (n = 8/66), c.473G>A (n = 6/66), and c.1162G>A (n = 6/66). One novel variant, c.524C>G (p.Pro175Arg), was found in one allele and was predicted as likely pathogenic by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) criteria. The molecular modeling of p.Pro175Arg indicated that this substitution can affect monomers binding in the PAH tetramer, which could lead to a change in the stability and activity of this enzyme. Next-generation sequencing was a fast and effective method for diagnosing PKU and is useful for patient phenotype prediction and genetic counseling.

Keywords: PAH; molecular diagnosis; next-generation sequencing; phenylalanine hydroxylase; phenylketonuria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Phenylalanine Hydroxylase / genetics*
  • Phenylketonurias / diagnosis*
  • Phenylketonurias / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics


  • Phenylalanine Hydroxylase