We identified four distinct point mutations in homozygous pyruvate kinase (PK) variants in Japanese and Chinese patients with chronic nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia. All gene abnormalities were missense mutations that caused single amino acid substitutions. 1261A (Q421K) and 1436A (R436H), which were identified in PK Sendai and PK Shinshu, had been found in unrelated Japanese and Amish PK variants, respectively. The clinical severity and extremely low residual erythrocyte PK activity of PK Shinshu as well as of the Amish PK might be caused partly by aberrant splicing, because the 1436A mutation changes a nucleotide at the last nucleotide in the exon 10. Recently, we diagnosed a 42-year-old Japanese woman with chronic nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia as having a homozygous PK deficiency. DNA sequencing of the variant PK gene showed a homozygous missense mutation at 1403GCT- ->GTT, resulting in a single amino acid substitution from 468la-->Val. The gene mutation is likely to impair the allostericity of this enzyme, speculated from the tertiary structure. A homozygous missense mutation in PK Hong Kong, a boy of a non-Han southern Chinese minority group, was identified in exon 7 of the human L-PK gene, 941ATT-->ACT, resulting in a single amino acid substitution from 314lle-->Thr. The R- PK activity is expected to be severely affected, because the mutated amino acid residue is located between the 313 Lys and the 315 Glu, which are very important for acid-base catalysis and magnesium binding, respectively. Both the R- and M2-type PK were shown by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the PK Hong Kong erythrocyte lysate, and this is the first report of a homozygous individual whose erythrocytes contain the immature (M2)-type isozyme.

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