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Heterozygous germline mutations in fumarate hydratase (FH) predispose to the multiple cutaneous and uterine leiomyomatosis syndrome (MCUL), which, when co-existing with renal cancer, is also known as hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer. Twenty-seven distinct missense mutations represent 68% of FH mutations reported in MCUL. Here we show that FH missense mutations significantly occurred in fully conserved residues and in residues functioning in the FH A-site, B-site, or subunit-interacting region. Of 24 distinct missense mutations, 13 (54%) occurred in the substrate-binding A-site, 4 (17%) in the substrate-binding B-site, and 7 (29%) in the subunit-interacting region. Clustering of missense mutations suggested the presence of possible mutational hotspots. FH functional assay of lymphoblastoid cell lines from 23 individuals with heterozygous FH missense mutations showed that A-site mutants had significantly less residual activity than B-site mutants, supporting data from Escherichia coli that the A-site is the main catalytic site. Missense FH mutations predisposing to renal cancer had no unusual features, and identical mutations were found in families without renal cancer, suggesting a role for genetic or environmental factors in renal cancer development in MCUL. That all missense FH mutations associating with MCUL/hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer showed diminished FH enzymatic activity suggests that the tumor suppressor role of fumarate hydratase may relate to its enzymatic function.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Diagn

Publication Date





437 - 443


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Carcinoma, Renal Cell, Female, Fumarate Hydratase, Humans, Leiomyomatosis, Models, Molecular, Mutation, Missense, Protein Binding, Protein Structure, Quaternary, Sequence Alignment, Skin Neoplasms, Uterine Neoplasms