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1.  AMPD2 Regulates GTP Synthesis and is Mutated in a Potentially-Treatable Neurodegenerative Brainstem Disorder 
Cell  2013;154(3):10.1016/j.cell.2013.07.005.
Purine biosynthesis and metabolism, conserved in all living organisms, is essential for cellular energy homeostasis and nucleic acids synthesis. The de novo synthesis of purine precursors is under tight negative feedback regulation mediated by adenosine and guanine nucleotides. We describe a new distinct early-onset neurodegenerative condition resulting from mutations in the adenosine monophosphate deaminase 2 gene (AMPD2). Patients have characteristic brain imaging features of pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH), due to loss of brainstem and cerebellar parenchyma. We found that AMPD2 plays an evolutionary conserved role in the maintenance of cellular guanine nucleotide pools by regulating the feedback inhibition of adenosine derivatives on de novo purine synthesis. AMPD2 deficiency results in defective GTP-dependent initiation of protein translation, which can be rescued by administration of purine precursors. These data suggest AMPD2-related PCH as a new, potentially treatable early-onset neurodegenerative disease.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.07.005
PMCID: PMC3815927  PMID: 23911318
Purine; pyrimidine; deaminase; salvage; translation; GTP; de novo synthesis; neurodegeneration
3.  From glycosylation disorders to dolichol biosynthesis defects: a new class of metabolic diseases 
Polyisoprenoid alcohols are membrane lipids that are present in every cell, conserved from archaea to higher eukaryotes. The most common form, alpha-saturated polyprenol or dolichol is present in all tissues and most organelle membranes of eukaryotic cells. Dolichol has a well defined role as a lipid carrier for the glycan precursor in the early stages of N-linked protein glycosylation, which is assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum of all eukaryotic cells. Other glycosylation processes including C- and O-mannosylation, GPI-anchor biosynthesis and O-glucosylation also depend on dolichol biosynthesis via the availability of dolichol-P-mannose and dolichol-P-glucose in the ER. The ubiquity of dolichol in cellular compartments that are not involved in glycosylation raises the possibility of additional functions independent of these protein post-translational modifications. The molecular basis of several steps involved in the synthesis and the recycling of dolichol and its derivatives is still unknown, which hampers further research into this direction. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on structural and functional aspects of dolichol metabolites. We will describe the metabolic disorders with a defect in known steps of dolichol biosynthesis and recycling in human and discuss their pathogenic mechanisms. Exploration of the developmental, cellular and biochemical defects associated with these disorders will provide a better understanding of the functions of this lipid class in human.
doi:10.1007/s10545-011-9301-0
PMCID: PMC3137772  PMID: 21384228
4.  SRD5A3 is required for the conversion of polyprenol to dolichol, essential for N-linked protein glycosylation 
Cell  2010;142(2):203-217.
SUMMARY
N-linked glycosylation is the most frequent modification of secreted and membrane-bound proteins in eukaryotic cells, disruption of which is the basis of the Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG). We describe a new type of CDG caused by mutations in the steroid 5α-reductase type 3 (SRD5A3) gene. Patients have mental retardation, ophthalmologic and cerebellar defects. We found that SRD5A3 is necessary for the reduction of the alpha-isoprene unit of polyprenols to form dolichols, required for synthesis of dolichol-linked monosaccharides and the oligosaccharide precursor used for N-glycosylation. The presence of residual dolichol in cells depleted for this enzyme suggests the existence of an unexpected alternative pathway for dolichol de novo biosynthesis. Our results thus suggest that SRD5A3 is likely to be the long-sought polyprenol reductase and reveal the genetic basis of one of the earliest steps in protein N-linked glycosylation.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.06.001
PMCID: PMC2940322  PMID: 20637498
N-glycosylation; dolichol; polyprenol; SRD5A3

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