Transgenic mouse expressing human mutant alpha-galactosidase A in an endogenous enzyme deficient background: a biochemical animal model for studying active-site specific chaperone therapy for Fabry disease

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 5;1690(3):250-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2004.07.001.


Fabry disease is an inborn error of glycosphingolipid metabolism caused by the deficiency of lysosomal alpha-galactosidase A (alpha-Gal A). We have established transgenic mice that exclusively express human mutant alpha-Gal A (R301Q) in an alpha-Gal A knock-out background (TgM/KO mice). This serves as a biochemical model to study and evaluate active-site specific chaperone (ASSC) therapy for Fabry disease, which is specific for those missense mutations that cause misfolding of alpha-Gal A. The alpha-Gal A activities in the heart, kidney, spleen, and liver of homozygous TgM/KO mice were 52.6, 9.9, 29.6 and 44.4 unit/mg protein, respectively, corresponding to 16.4-, 0.8-, 0.6- and 1.4-fold of the endogenous enzyme activities in the same tissues of non-transgenic mice with a similar genetic background. Oral administration of 1-deoxygalactonojirimycin (DGJ), a competitive inhibitor of alpha-Gal A and an effective ASSC for Fabry disease, at 0.05 mM in the drinking water of the mice for 2 weeks resulted in 13.8-, 3.3-, 3.9-, and 2.6-fold increases in enzyme activities in the heart, kidney, spleen and liver, respectively. No accumulation of globotriaosylceramide, a natural substrate of alpha-Gal A, could be detected in the heart of TgM/KO mice after DGJ treatment, indicating that degradation of the glycolipid in the heart was not inhibited by DGJ at that dosage. The alpha-Gal A activity in homozygous or heterozygous fibroblasts established from TgM/KO mice (TMK cells) was approximately 39 and 20 unit/mg protein, respectively. These TgM/KO mice and TMK cells are useful tools for studying the mechanism of ASSC therapy, and for screening ASSCs for Fabry disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin / administration & dosage
  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Fabry Disease* / enzymology
  • Fabry Disease* / genetics
  • Fabry Disease* / therapy*
  • Fibroblasts
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Protein Folding
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trihexosylceramides / metabolism
  • alpha-Galactosidase / chemistry
  • alpha-Galactosidase / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / metabolism*


  • Molecular Chaperones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trihexosylceramides
  • 1-Deoxynojirimycin
  • globotriaosylceramide
  • alpha-Galactosidase