The enzyme, lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), is responsible for the esterification of plasma cholesterol mediating the transfer of an acyl group from lecithin to the 3-hydroxy group of cholesterol. Deficiency of the enzyme is a well-known syndrome with a widespread geographic occurrence. We have cloned an allele from a patient homozygous for the LCAT deficiency. The only change that we could detect is a C to T transition in the fourth exon of the gene; this causes a substitution of Arg for Trp at position 147 of the mature protein. The functional significance of such a substitution with respect to the enzyme defect was demonstrated by transfecting the mutated LCAT gene in the cell line COS-1.
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