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Oliveira do Hospital, Portugal

Coelho A.I.,University of Lisbon | Lourenco S.,University of Lisbon | Trabuco M.,University of Lisbon | Silva M.J.,University of Lisbon | And 6 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2015

In recent years, antisense therapy has emerged as an increasingly important therapeutic approach to tackle several genetic disorders, including inborn errors of metabolism. Intronic mutations activating cryptic splice sites are particularly amenable to antisense therapy, as the canonical splice sites remain intact, thus retaining the potential for restoring constitutive splicing. Mutational analysis of Portuguese galactosemic patients revealed the intronic variation c.820+13A>G as the second most prevalent mutation, strongly suggesting its pathogenicity. The aim of this study was to functionally characterize this intronic variation, to elucidate its pathogenic molecular mechanism(s) and, ultimately, to correct it by antisense therapy. Minigene splicing assays in two distinct cell lines and patients' transcript analyses showed that the mutation activates a cryptic donor splice site, inducing an aberrant splicing of the GALT pre-mRNA, which in turn leads to a frameshift with inclusion of a premature stop codon (p.D274Gfs∗17). Functional-structural studies of the recombinant wild-type and truncated GALT showed that the latter is devoid of enzymatic activity and prone to aggregation. Finally, two locked nucleic acid oligonucleotides, designed to specifically recognize the mutation, successfully restored the constitutive splicing, thus establishing a proof of concept for the application of antisense therapy as an alternative strategy for the clearly insufficient dietary treatment in classic galactosemia. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Coelho A.I.,University of Lisbon | Ramos R.,University of Lisbon | Gaspar A.,Hospital Santa Maria | Costa C.,Hospital Santa Maria | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease | Year: 2014

Classic galactosemia is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by deficient galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT) activity. Patients develop symptoms in the neonatal period, which can be ameliorated by dietary restriction of galactose. Many patients develop long-term complications, with a broad range of clinical symptoms whose pathophysiology is poorly understood. The high allelic heterogeneity of GALT gene that characterizes this disorder is thought to play a determinant role in biochemical and clinical phenotypes. We aimed to characterize the mutational spectrum of GALT deficiency in Portugal and to assess potential genotype-phenotype correlations. Direct sequencing of the GALT gene and in silico analyses were employed to evaluate the impact of uncharacterized mutations upon GALT functionality. Molecular characterization of 42 galactosemic Portuguese patients revealed a mutational spectrum comprising 14 nucleotide substitutions: ten missense, two nonsense and two putative splicing mutations. Sixteen different genotypic combinations were detected, half of the patients being p.Q188R homozygotes. Notably, the second most frequent variation is a splicing mutation. In silico predictions complemented by a close-up on the mutations in the protein structure suggest that uncharacterized missense mutations have cumulative point effects on protein stability, oligomeric state, or substrate binding. One splicing mutation is predicted to cause an alternative splicing event. This study reinforces the difficulty in establishing a genotype-phenotype correlation in classic galactosemia, a monogenic disease whose complex pathogenesis and clinical features emphasize the need to expand the knowledge on this "cloudy" disorder. © 2013 SSIEM and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

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