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Open Access Research article

The human L-threonine 3-dehydrogenase gene is an expressed pseudogene

Alasdair J Edgar

Author Affiliations

Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine Centre, Division of Investigative Science, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London, United Kingdom

BMC Genetics 2002, 3:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-3-18

Published: 2 October 2002

Abstract

Background

L-threonine is an indispensable amino acid. One of the major L-threonine degradation pathways is the conversion of L-threonine via 2-amino-3-ketobutyrate to glycine. L-threonine dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.103) is the first enzyme in the pathway and catalyses the reaction: L-threonine + NAD+ = 2-amino-3-ketobutyrate + NADH. The murine and porcine L-threonine dehydrogenase genes (TDH) have been identified previously, but the human gene has not been identified.

Results

The human TDH gene is located at 8p23-22 and has 8 exons spanning 10 kb that would have been expected to encode a 369 residue ORF. However, 2 cDNA TDH transcripts encode truncated proteins of 157 and 230 residues. These truncated proteins are the result of 3 mutations within the gene. There is a SNP, A to G, present in the genomic DNA sequence of some individuals which results in the loss of the acceptor splice site preceding exon 4. The acceptor splice site preceding exon 6 was lost in all 23 individuals genotyped and there is an in-frame stop codon in exon 6 (CGA to TGA) resulting in arginine-214 being replaced by a stop codon. These truncated proteins would be non-functional since they have lost part of the NAD+ binding motif and the COOH terminal domain that is thought to be involved in binding L-threonine. TDH mRNA was present in all tissues examined.

Conclusions

The human L-threonine 3-dehydrogenase gene is an expressed pseudogene having lost the splice acceptor site preceding exon 6 and codon arginine-214 (CGA) is mutated to a stop codon (TGA).