Co-expression of mutated and normal adrenoleukodystrophy protein reduces protein function: implications for gene therapy of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy

Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Nov 1;9(18):2609-16. doi: 10.1093/hmg/9.18.2609.


Inherited defects in the X-chromosomal adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD; ABCD1) gene are the genetic cause of the severe neurodegenerative disorder X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). Biochemically the accumulation of very long-chain fatty acids, caused by impaired peroxisomal beta-oxidation, is the pathognomonic characteristic of the disease. Due to the X-chromosomal inheritance of X-ALD no data are available to clarify the question whether mutated adrenoleukodystrophy proteins (ALDPs) can negatively influence normal ALDP function. Here we show that restoration of beta-oxidation in X-ALD fibroblasts following transient transfection with normal ALD cDNA is more effective in ALDP-deficient fibroblasts compared with fibroblasts expressing normal amounts of mutated ALDP. Furthermore, we utilized the HeLa Tet-on system to construct a stable HeLa cell line expressing a constant level of endogenous ALDP and doxycycline-inducible levels of mutated ALDP. The induction was doxycycline dosage-dependent and the ALDP correctly localized. Interestingly, although mutated ALDP increased >6-fold in a dosage-dependent manner the total amount of ALDP (mutated and normal) remained approximately even as demonstrated by western blot and flow cytometric analyses. Thus, apparently mutated and normal ALDP compete for integration into a limited number of sites in the peroxisomal membrane. Consequently, increased amounts of mutated ALDP resulted in decreased peroxisomal beta-oxidation and accumulation of very long-chain fatty acids. These findings have direct implications on future gene therapy approaches for treatment of X-ALD, since in some patients a non-functional endogenous protein could act in a dominant negative way or displace the introduced, normal protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily D, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / chemistry
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / genetics
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / therapy*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Genetic Linkage / genetics*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism
  • Point Mutation / genetics*
  • Protein Conformation
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transfection
  • X Chromosome / genetics*


  • ABCD1 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily D, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Doxycycline

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Z21876