Wilson disease (WND) is an autosomal recessive disorder resulting from mutation of ATP7B. Transport of copper by ATP7B from the trans-Golgi of hepatocytes into apical membrane-trafficked vesicles for excretion in the bile is the major means of copper elimination from the body. Although copper is an essential nutrient, homeostasis must be carefully maintained. If homeostasis is disrupted, copper can accumulate within the liver, kidney, cornea, and/or brain. The range of organs affected leads to clinical heterogeneity and difficulty in WND diagnosis. Sequencing of ATP7B is an important adjunct for diagnosis but has led to the discovery of many novel missense variants. Although prediction programs are available, functional characterization is essential for determining the consequence of novel variants. We have tested 12 missense variants localized to the ATP loop of ATP7B and compared three predictive programs (SIFT, PolyPhen, and Align-GVGD). We found p.L1043P, p.G1000R, p.G1101R, p.I1102T, p.V1239G, and p.D1267V deleterious; p.G1176E and p.G1287S intermediate; p.E1173G temperature sensitive; p.T991M and p.I1148T mild; and p.R1228T functioning as wild type. We found that SIFT most often agreed with functional data (92%), compared with PolyPhen (83%) and Align-GVGD (67%). We conclude that variants found to negatively affect function likely contribute to the WND phenotype in patients. Hum Mutat 31:569–577, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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