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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Dec 30;105(52):20894-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0808421105. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

Preclinical evaluation of multiple species of PEGylated recombinant phenylalanine ammonia lyase for the treatment of phenylketonuria.

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  • 1Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1.


Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a metabolic disorder, in which loss of phenylalanine hydroxylase activity results in neurotoxic levels of phenylalanine. We used the Pah(enu2/enu2) PKU mouse model in short- and long-term studies of enzyme substitution therapy with PEGylated phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PEG-PAL conjugates) from 4 different species. The most therapeutically effective PAL (Av, Anabaena variabilis) species was one without the highest specific activity, but with the highest stability; indicating the importance of protein stability in the development of effective protein therapeutics. A PEG-Av-p.C503S/p.C565S-PAL effectively lowered phenylalanine levels in both vascular space and brain tissue over a >90 day trial period, resulting in reduced manifestations associated with PKU, including reversal of PKU-associated hypopigmentation and enhanced animal health. Phenylalanine reduction occurred in a dose- and loading-dependent manner, and PEGylation reduced the neutralizing immune response to the enzyme. Human clinical trials with PEG-Av-p.C503S/p.C565S-PAL as a treatment for PKU are underway.

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