Naturally occurring variations in the human cholinesterase genes: Heritability and association with cardiovascular and metabolic traits

Anne M. Valle, Zoran Radić, Brinda K. Rana, Vafa Mahboubi, Jennifer Wessel, Pei An Betty Shih, Fangwen Rao, Daniel T. O'Connor, Palmer Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Cholinergic neurotransmission in the central and autonomic nervous systems regulates immediate variations in and longer-term maintenance of cardiovascular function with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity that is critical to temporal responsiveness. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), largely confined to the liver and plasma, subserves metabolic functions. AChE and BChE are found in hematopoietic cells and plasma, enabling one to correlate enzyme levels in whole blood with hereditary traits in twins. Using both twin and unrelated subjects, we found certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ACHE gene correlated with catalytic properties and general cardiovascular functions. SNP discovery from ACHE resequencing identified 19 SNPs: 7 coding SNPs (cSNPs), of which 4 are nonsynonymous, and 12 SNPs in untranslated regions, of which 3 are in a conserved sequence of an upstream intron. Both AChE and BChE activity traits in blood were heritable: AChE at 48.8 ± 6.1% and BChE at 81.4 ± 2.8%. Allelic and haplotype variations in the ACHE and BCHE genes were associated with changes in blood AChE and BChE activities. AChE activity was associated with BP status and SBP, whereas BChE activity was associated with features of the metabolic syndrome (especially body weight and BMI). Gene products from cDNAs with nonsynonymous cSNPs were expressed and purified. Protein expression of ACHE nonsynonymous variant D134H (SNP6) is impaired: this variant shows compromised stability and altered rates of organophosphate inhibition and oxime-assisted reactivation. A substantial fraction of the D134H instability could be reversed in the D134H/R136Q mutant. Hence, common genetic variations at ACHE and BCHE loci were associated with changes in corresponding enzymatic activities in blood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Naturally occurring variations in the human cholinesterase genes: Heritability and association with cardiovascular and metabolic traits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this