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Structure, function, and pharmacological chaperoning of human α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase

Nathaniel E Clark, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Human lysosomal α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (α-NAGAL) is responsible for the break down of glycolipids and glycopeptides that contain a terminal α-linked N-acetylgalactosamine residues. Deficiency of α-NAGAL results in Schindler and Kanzaki diseases. α-NAGAL is closely related to another lysosomal enzyme, α-galactosidase (α-GAL), which breaks down glycolipids and glycopeptides with a terminal α-linked galactose residues. Fabry disease results from a deficiency of α-galactosidase activity. We studied the reaction mechanism of both enzymes using biochemistry and X-ray crystallography, and found that α-GAL and α-NAGAL use an identical reaction mechanism, and differ only in substrate specificity. We solved the first structure of human α-NAGAL, allowing us to examine the disease-causing patient mutations in the context of a high-resolution 3D atomic structure, moving Schindler and Kanzaki disease into the realm of personalized molecular medicine. We then developed the first ever proof-of-principle treatment of Schindler and Kanzaki disease, by developing and characterizing 2 pharmacological chaperones that show promise to treat Schindler and Kanzaki diseases, which currently have no treatment options.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Biochemistry|Biophysics

Recommended Citation

Clark, Nathaniel E, "Structure, function, and pharmacological chaperoning of human α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3545912.