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J Clin Invest. 1993 Mar;91(3):1167-75.

Role of pH in determining the cell-type-specific residual activity of glucocerebrosidase in type 1 Gaucher disease.

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E. C. Slater Institute for Biochemical Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The properties of control and 370Asn-->Ser glucocerebrosidase, the frequently encountered mutated form of the enzyme in type 1 Gaucher disease, were studied in vitro as well as in situ. The catalytic properties of purified 370Asn-->Ser glucocerebrosidase were highly dependent on the assay conditions. The enzyme was deficient in activity towards substrate and in reactivity with the irreversible inhibitor conduritol B-epoxide (CBE) when activated by the bile salt taurocholate. In the presence of more physiological activators, the lysosomal activator protein saposin C and phosphatidylserine, the 370Asn-->Ser enzyme was near normal in kinetic properties at pH values approximately 5, but not at higher pH. In intact fibroblasts, the enzymic activity of the 370Asn-->Ser glucocerebrosidase and its reactivity with CBE were found to be clearly deficient. However, in intact lymphoblasts from the same patients, the behavior of the mutant enzyme was near normal. The catalytic efficiency of 370Asn-->Ser glucocerebrosidase in situ was also found to be highly pH dependent. When intact lymphoblasts were cultured in the presence of permeant weak bases, which increase the pH of acidic intracellular compartments, the catalytic efficiency of the mutant enzyme, as assessed by its reactivity with CBE, became markedly impaired. Our findings indicate that the intralysosomal pH in the intact cell can be expected to have a critical influence on the activation state of 370Asn-->Ser glucocerebrosidase and its ability to hydrolyse substrate. This phenomenon may partly underly the marked heterogeneity in clinical manifestation of Gaucher disease among patients with this mutated form of glucocerebrosidase.

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