Gaucher disease, the most prevalent lysosomal storage disease, occurs in three subtypes, all resulting from mutations in the acid beta-glucosidase gene. Molecular studies in five severely affected type 1 and two type 2 Gaucher disease patients of non-Jewish descent identified six new mutations: K74X, W179X, G195E, S271N, V352L, and a two-base deletion in exon 10 (1450del2). Two additional mutations identified in these patients (R48W and G202R) have been reported previously, but were not expressed or characterized. Heterologous expression in Sf 9 cells using the baculovirus system revealed that the missense mutations, R48W and V352L, had 14 and 7%, respectively, of the specific activity based on cross-reacting immunologic material expressed by the normal allele. In contrast, the G195E, G202R, and S271N mutant alleles were more severely compromised with only 1-2% of the normal expressed specific activity based on cross-reacting immunologic material. Structural distortion at the active site was probed by comparing the interaction of the mutant enzymes with active site-directed inhibitors (castanospermine, conduritol B epoxide and deoxynojirimycin). R48W, G202R, and S271N were normally inhibited, whereas the V352L and G195E mutant enzymes had significantly decreased binding affinity. These mutations further expand the genetic heterogeneity in the lesions causing Gaucher disease types 1 and 2, and further delineate genotype/phenotype correlations and functional domains within the acid beta-glucosidase gene.


M E Grace, R J Desnick, G M Pastores


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