In this paper we report on the molecular defect underlying apolipoprotein CII (apoCII) deficiency in an Italian kindred. ApoCII serves as cofactor for lipoprotein lipase (LPL) in triglyceride hydrolysis of chylomicrons and very low density lipoproteins. Homozygous apoCII deficiency manifests with type I hyperlipoproteinaemia and is a rare disorder of lipoprotein metabolism. Until now, only 10 kindreds with apoCII deficiency have been published and all underlying mutations were unique. The proband was the offspring of a consanguineous mating. Sequencing of cloned DNA from the proband presented in this report showed homozygosity for a C-->A substitution at position 3002 in the apoCII gene, resulting in the introduction of a premature stop codon at residue 37 of the mature apoCII protein. Therefore, a truncated apoCII is synthesised, lacking the part of the apolipoprotein that activates LPL. This mutation has previously been described in another Italian family and is known as apoCIIPadova. We propose that apoCIIPadova is a frequent cause of apoCII deficiency in persons of Italian descent.
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