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J Med Genet. 1996 Jun;33(6):458-64.

Human alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (alpha-NAGA) deficiency: new mutations and the paradox between genotype and phenotype.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Up to now eight patients with alpha-NAGA deficiency have been described. This includes the newly identified patient reported here who died unexpectedly aged 1 1/2 years of hypoxia during convulsions; necropsy was not performed. Three patients have been genotyped previously and here we report the mutations in the other five patients, including two new mutations (S160C and E193X). The newly identified patient is consanguineous with the first patients reported with alpha-NAGA deficiency and neuroaxonal dystrophy and they all had the alpha-NAGA genotype E325K/E325K. Clinical heterogeneity among patients with alpha-NAGA deficiency is extreme. Two affected sibs, homozygotes for E325K, are severely affected and have the signs and symptoms of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, but prominent vacuolisation is lacking. The mildly affected patients (two families, three patients) at the opposite end of the clinical spectrum have clear vacuolisation and angiokeratoma but no overt neurological manifestations. Two of them are homozygous for the stop mutation E193X, leading to complete loss of alpha-NAGA protein. These observations are difficult to reconcile with a simple genotype-phenotype correlation and we suggest that factors or genes other than alpha-NAGA contribute to the clinical heterogeneity of the eight patients with alpha-NAGA deficiency. At the metabolic level, the patients with alpha-NAGA deficiency are similar. The major abnormal urinary oligosaccharides are sialylglycopeptides of the O linked type. Our enzymatic studies indicated that these compounds are not the primary lysosomal storage products.

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