Misfolding of galactose 1-phosphate uridylyltransferase can result in type I galactosemia

Thomas J. McCorvie, Tyler J. Gleason, Judith L. Fridovich-Keil, David J. Timson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Type I galactosemia is a genetic disorder that is caused by the impairment of galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT; EC Although a large number of mutations have been detected through genetic screening of the human GALT (hGALT) locus, for many it is not known how they cause their effects. The majority of these mutations are missense, with predicted substitutions scattered throughout the enzyme structure and thus causing impairment by other means rather than direct alterations to the active site. To clarify the fundamental, molecular basis of hGALT impairment we studied five disease-associated variants p.D28Y, p.L74P, p.F171S, p.F194L and p.R333G using both a yeast model and purified, recombinant proteins. In a yeast expression system there was a correlation between lysate activity and the ability to rescue growth in the presence of galactose, except for p.R333G. Kinetic analysis of the purified proteins quantified each variant's level of enzymatic impairment and demonstrated that this was largely due to altered substrate binding. Increased surface hydrophobicity, altered thermal stability and changes in proteolytic sensitivity were also detected. Our results demonstrate that hGALT requires a level of flexibility to function optimally and that altered folding is the underlying reason of impairment in all the variants tested here. This indicates that misfolding is a common, molecular basis of hGALT deficiency and suggests the potential of pharmacological chaperones and proteostasis regulators as novel therapeutic approaches for type I galactosemia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1279-1293
    Number of pages15
    JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


    • Disease associated mutation
    • GALT
    • Protein misfolding
    • Stability
    • Substrate binding
    • Yeast model


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