Using DNA samples obtained from two unrelated patients, diagnosed as having familial dysalbuminaemic hyperthyroxinaemia (FDH), exons 1-14 which span the entire coding region of the human serum albumin (HSA) gene were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction. The sequence of each of the 14 DNA fragments was then determined. In each case a point mutation was identified at nucleotide 653 which causes an Arg to His substitution at amino acid position 218. The substitution was confirmed by amino acid sequencing of a mutant peptide resulting from tryptic digestion of the protein. Abnormal affinity of FDH HSA for a thyroxine (T4) analogue was verified by an adaptation of the procedure used in routine free T4 measurement. The location of the mutation is discussed in relation to other studies on the binding properties of HSA.
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