Fabry Disease (FD) is an X-linked multisystemic lysosomal disorder caused by mutations of α-galactosidase (GLA) gene. Only a few of the 450 genetic lesions identified so far have been characterised by in vitro expression studies. Thus the significance of newly identified GLA nucleotide variants sin FD patients which lead to α-galactosidase (GAL-A) amino acid substitutions or intronic changes can be uncertain.
We identified three GLA mutations: c155G>A (p.C52Y), c548G>C (p.G183A), c647A>G (p.Y216C) in as many individuals (two male; one female), and performed in vitro expression studies and Western Blot analysis, in order to clarify their functional effects.
Reduced GAL-A activity and normal or partially reduced mutant proteins were present in all overexpressed mutant systems in which, three-dimensional structural analysis showed that the active site was not directly involved. We hypothesize that the three new mutations affect the GAL-A protein, leading to conformational FD. When, mutant proteins overexpressed in COS-1 cells and in patients’ lymphocytes were tested in the presence of the 1-deoxygalactonojirimicin (DGJ) chaperone, the p.G183A and p.Y216C systems showed increased GAL-A enzyme activities and protein stabilisation, while p.C52Y was not responsive.
We underline that genetic, biochemical and functional studies are helpful in clarifying the consequences of the missense genetic lesions detected in FD. ERT is the elective therapy for Fabry patients but it is not always possible to issue the enzyme’s active form in all involved organs. Our study endorses the hypothesis that an active-site-specific chemical chaperone, which could be administered orally, might be effective in treating GAL-A conformational defects.