Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD, EC 126.96.36.199), encoded by the DPYD gene, is the rate-limiting enzyme in the degradation pathway of endogenous pyrimidine and fluoropyrimidine drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). DPD catalyzes the reduction of uracil, thymine, and 5-FU. In Caucasians, DPYD mutations, including DPYD*2A, DPYD*13, c.2846A>T, and c.1129-5923C>G/hapB3, are known to contribute to interindividual variations in the toxicity of 5-FU; however, none of these DPYD polymorphisms has been identified in the Asian population. Recently, 21 DPYD allelic variants, including some novel single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), were identified in 1070 healthy Japanese individuals by analyzing their whole-genome sequences (WGSs), but the functional alterations caused by these variants remain unknown. In this study, in vitro analysis was performed on 22 DPD allelic variants by transiently expressing wild-type DPD and 21 DPD variants in 293FT cells and characterizing their enzymatic activities using 5-FU as a substrate. DPD expression levels and dimeric forms were determined using immunoblotting and blue-native PAGE, respectively. Additionally, the values of three kinetic parameters—the Michaelis constant (Km), maximum velocity (Vmax), and intrinsic clearance (CLint = Vmax/Km)—were determined for the reduction of 5-FU. Eleven variants exhibited significantly decreased intrinsic clearance compared with wild-type DPD. Moreover, the band patterns observed in the immunoblots of blue-native gels indicated that DPD dimerization is required for enzymatic activity in DPD. Thus, the detection of rare DPYD variants might facilitate severe adverse effect prediction of 5-FU-based chemotherapy in the Japanese population.
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