A molecular survey of hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency in man

J Clin Invest. 1986 Jan;77(1):188-95. doi: 10.1172/JCI112275.


We characterized 24 unrelated patients with a deficiency of the enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) in an attempt to better understand the nature and spectrum of mutations that underlie this prototype-inherited disease. Lymphoblast cell lines derived from each patient were analyzed at multiple molecular levels including the structure and function of the residual HPRT enzyme, messenger RNA (mRNA), and gene. Our studies demonstrate the following: (a) at least 16 of the 24 patients represent unique and independent mutations at the HPRT structural gene; (b) the majority of cell lines have normal quantities of mRNA but undetectable quantities of enzyme; (c) 33% of patients retain significant quantities of structurally altered, functionally abnormal, HPRT enzyme variants; and (d) a minority of patients are void of both enzyme and mRNA, possibly representing examples of aberrations in gene expression. Our studies provide direct evidence for marked genetic heterogeneity in this disorder and illustrate the kinds of mutations and mutational consequences that underlie inherited disease in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Genes
  • Humans
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / deficiency*
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase / genetics
  • Kinetics
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome / enzymology*
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome / genetics
  • Lymphocytes / enzymology
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Proteins / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase