α1-Antitrypsin Wbethesda: Molecular basis of an unusual α1-antitrypsin deficiency variant
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Molecular analysis of alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha 1AT) Wbethesda revealed that it differs from the normal M1 (Ala213) allele by a single base mutation causing an amino acid substitution Ala336 GCT----Thr ACT. Evaluation of alpha 1AT biosynthesis directed by the Wbethesda allele showed that although Wbethesda alpha 1AT mRNA was translated normally in vitro, transfection of the Wbethesda cDNA into COS-I cells was associated with human alpha 1AT secretion of 50% that of cells transfected with a normal alpha 1AT cDNA. The pattern of alpha 1AT biosynthesis was not intracellular accumulation as observed with the common Z alpha 1AT deficiency allele, but reduced intracellular alpha 1AT, suggesting intracellular degradation of the newly synthesized Wbethesda molecule. Together these observations suggest that in heterozygous combination with a Z or Null alpha 1AT allele, the Wbethesda variant causes "alpha 1AT deficiency", thus classifying it as an alpha 1AT "at risk" allele for emphysema.