Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] contains a variable number of identical (K-IV A/B) or nearly identical (K-IV 1, K-IV 30–37) kringle repeats that are homologous to K-IV from plasminogen. The sizes of 414 apo(a) alleles were determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of KpnI-digested DNA. Furthermore, sequence variation in the apo(a) K-IV 30–37 domain was analysed. Reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) cloning of human liver poly A+ RNA followed by sequencing revealed a single nucleotide exchange in the ultimate K-IV (K-IV 37) of apo(a) (codon 4168); this results in an ATG (Met) to ACG (Thr) substitution. A PCR-based restriction assay of genomic DNA demonstrated that this substitution represents a common polymorphism. In 231 unrelated Tyroleans, the frequencies for the K-IV 37 Thr and K-IV 37 Met alleles were 0.66 and 0.34, respectively. The phase between the K-IV 37 Met/Thr and the KpnI size polymorphism was determined for 224 alleles. A significant linkage disequilibrium was detected between the sequence and size polymorphisms of apo(a). K-IV 37 Met was significantly associated with KpnI allele no. 18 (D AB= 0.0267 + 0.0101; χ2 = 10.09, df = 1). The Met/Thr polymorphism was further used to test whether deletions or duplications of K-IV 37 occur frequently in the apo(a) gene. Some 40 apo(a) alleles, 22 of which were from subjects that appeared to be double heterozygotes for K-IV repeat number and the Met/Thr variation were separated by PFGE and analysed for the 4168 Met/Thr polymorphism. The Met and Thr sequences were always present on different size alleles and no evidence for a duplication or deletion of K-IV 37 was obtained. This suggests that the copy number of K-IV 37 is invariable, in contrast to the highly variable K-IV A/B domain of the gene. The 4168 Met/Thr polymorphism had no effect on Lp(a) concentration, neither did it influence the lysine-binding property of the Lp(a) particle.
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