Two Maltese puppies with massive hepatomegaly and failure to thrive had isolated deficient glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase) activity in liver and kidney and pathological findings compatible with GSD-Ia. To identify the mutation, we cloned G-6-Pase canine cDNA by RT-PCR with primers from the murine G-6-Pase gene sequence. The canine G-6-Pase cDNA is 2346 bp, with a 5' untranslated region of 87 bp, a coding region of 1071 bp, and a 3' untranslated region of 1185 bp. The difference between the canine and human sequences is in the 3' untranslated region. A greater than 90% amino acid sequence homology was seen with canine, human, murine, and rat G-6-Pase. G- 6-Pase cDNA from affected and control puppies revealed complete homology except at nt position 450, which showed a guanine to cytosine (G to C) transversion resulting in substitution of a methionine by isoleucine at codon 121 (M121I) in all five clones studied. The loss of an NcoI restriction site on genomic DNA amplified with primers flanking the mutation allowed us to prove that affected puppies were homozygous for the mutation and parents were heterozygous carriers. The mutant G-6-Pase cDNA had 15 times less enzyme activity than wild-type cDNA following transient transfection. Northern blot analysis of puppies with GSD-Ia revealed increased G-6-Pase mRNA, compared to normal controls. Increased G-6-Pase mRNA was also seen in normal fasted puppies compared to littermates in the fed state, suggesting that the increased G-6-Pase mRNA is a physiologic response to fasting. This is the first report of a molecularly confirmed naturally occurring animal model of GSD-Ia. The establishment of a breeding colony of this dog strain will facilitate studies on the role of G-6-Pase gene in glucose homeostasis, in pathophysiology of disease, and development of novel therapeutic approaches such as gene therapy.
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