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Three subtypes of hereditary orotic aciduria are described in the literature, all related to deficiencies in uridine monophosphate synthase, the multifunctional enzyme that contains both orotate: pyrophosphoryl transferase and orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase activities. The type of enzyme defect present in the subtypes has been re-examined by steady-state modelling of the relative outputs of the three enzymic products, uridine monophosphate, urinary orotic acid and urinary orotidine. It is shown that the ratio of urinary outputs of orotidine to orotate provides a means of testing for particular forms of enzyme defect. It is confirmed that the type I defect is caused by loss of uridine monophosphate synthase activity. Cells and tissue of type I cases have a residual amount of activity that is qualitatively unchanged: the relative rates of the transferase and decarboxylase do not differ from those of wild-type enzyme. The single claimed case of type II, thought to be due to specific inactivation of orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase, is shown to have a product spectrum inconsistent with that claim. It is proposed that this type II form does not differ sufficiently to be accepted as separate from type I. The third subtype, hereditary orotic aciduria without megaloblastic anaemia, occurs in two cases. It has the product spectrum expected of a defect in orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase. This form is the only one that appears to have a qualitatively different uridine monophosphate synthase. The possibility that orotidine monophosphate may control flux through the pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway in hereditary orotic aciduria is discussed.


C J Bailey. Orotic aciduria and uridine monophosphate synthase: a reappraisal. Journal of inherited metabolic disease. 2009 Dec;32 Suppl 1:S227-33

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PMID: 19562503

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