Indexed on: 22 Jan '20Published on: 05 Jun '19Published in: Lipids in Health and Disease
Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is a plasma enzyme that esterifies cholesterol in high- and low-density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL). Mutations in LCAT gene causes familial LCAT deficiency, which is characterized by very low plasma HDL-cholesterol levels (Hypoalphalipoproteinemia), corneal opacity and anemia, among other lipid-related traits. Our aim is to evaluate clinical/biochemical features of a Chilean family with a proband showing clinical signs of familial LCAT deficiency, as well as to identify and assess the functional effects of LCAT mutations.An adult female proband with hypoalphalipoproteinemia, corneal opacity and mild anemia, as well as her first-degree relatives, were recruited for clinical, biochemical, genetic, in-silico and in-vitro LCAT analysis. Sequencing of exons and intron-exon boundaries was performed to identify mutations. Site-directed mutagenesis was carried out to generate plasmids containing cDNA with wild type or mutant sequences. Such expression vectors were transfected to HEK-239 T cells to asses the effect of LCAT variants in expression, synthesis, secretion and enzyme activity. In-silico prediction analysis and molecular modeling was also used to evaluate the effect of LCAT variants.LCAT sequencing identified rare p.V333 M and p.M404 V missense mutations in compound heterozygous state in the proband, as well the common synonymous p.L363 L variant. LCAT protein was detected in proband’s plasma, but with undetectable enzyme activity compared to control relatives. HEK-293 T transfected cells with vector expression plasmids containing either p.M404 V or p.V333 M cDNA showed detectable LCAT protein expression both in supernatants and lysates from cultured cells, but with much lower enzyme activity compared to cells transfected with the wild-type sequence. Bioinformatic analyses also supported a causal role of such rare variations in LCAT lack of function. Additionally, the proband carried the minor allele of the synonymous p.L363 L variant. However, this variant is unlikely to affect the clinical phenotype of the proband given its relatively high frequency in the Chilean population (4%) and its small putative effect on plasma HDL-cholesterol levels.Genetic, biochemical, in vitro and in silico analyses indicate that the rare mutations p.M404 V and p.V333 M in LCAT gene lead to suppression of LCAT enzyme activity and cause clinical features of familial LCAT deficiency.