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Hum Mutat. 2003 Nov;22(5):343-52.

Molecular pathology of NEU1 gene in sialidosis.

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Service de Génétique Médicale, Hôpital Sainte-Justine, Département de Pédiatrie, Faculté de Médicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.


Lysosomal sialidase (EC has a dual physiological function; it participates in intralysosomal catabolism of sialylated glycoconjugates and is involved in cellular immune response. Mutations in the sialidase gene NEU1, located on chromosome 6p21.3, result in autosomal recessive disorder, sialidosis, which is characterized by the progressive lysosomal storage of sialylated glycopeptides and oligosaccharides. Sialidosis type I is a milder, late-onset, normosomatic form of the disorder. Type I patients develop visual defects, myoclonus syndrome, cherry-red macular spots, ataxia, hyperreflexia, and seizures. The severe early-onset form, sialidosis type II, is also associated with dysostosis multiplex, Hurler-like phenotype, mental retardation, and hepatosplenomegaly. We summarize information on the 34 unique mutations determined so far in the sialidase gene, including four novel missense and one novel nonsense mutations found in two Czech and two French sialidosis patients. The analysis of sialidase mutations in sialidosis revealed considerable molecular heterogeneity, reflecting the diversity of clinical phenotypes that make molecular diagnosis difficult. The majority of sialidosis patients have had missense mutations, many of which have been expressed; their effects on activity, stability, intracellular localization, and supramolecular organization of sialidase were studied. A structural model of sialidase allowed us to localize mutations in the sialidase molecule and to predict their impact on the tertiary structure and biochemical properties of the enzyme.

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