DNA screening for LDL receptor mutations was performed in 170 unrelated hyperlipidemic Chinese patients and two clinically diagnosed familial hypercholesterolemia patients. Two deletions (Del e3-5 and Del e6-8), eight point mutations (W-18X, D69N, R94H, E207K, C308Y, 1402T, A410T, and A696G), and two polymorphisms (A370T and I602V) were identified. Of these mutations, C308Y and Del e6-8 were found in homozygosity, and D69N and C308Y were seen in unrelated patients. The effects of mutations on LDL receptor function were characterized in COS-7 cells. The LDL receptor level and activity were close to those of wild type in A696G transfected cells. A novel intermediate protein and reduction of LDL receptor activity were seen in D69N transfected cells. For R94H, E207K, C308Y, I402T, and A410T mutations, only ∼20-64% of normal receptor activities were seen. Conversely, Del e3-5 and Del e6-8 lead to defective proteins with ∼0-13% activity. Most of the mutant receptors were localized intracellularly, with a staining pattern resembling that of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus (D69N, R94H, E207K, C308Y, and I402T) or endosome/lysosome (A410T and Del e6-8). Molecular analysis of the LDL receptor gene will clearly identify the cause of the patient's hyperlipidemia and allow appropriate early treatment as well as antenatal and family studies.
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