Chaperone therapy for Krabbe disease: potential for late-onset GALC mutations

J Hum Genet. 2015 Sep;60(9):539-45. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2015.61. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Krabbe disease is an autosomal recessive leukodystrophy caused by a deficiency of the galactocerebrosidase (GALC) enzyme. Hematopoietic stem cells transplantation is the only available treatment option for pre-symptomatic patients. We have previously reported the chaperone effect of N-octyl-4-epi-β-valienamine (NOEV) on mutant GM1 β-galactosidase proteins, and in a murine GM1-gangliosidosis model. In this study, we examined its chaperone effect on mutant GALC proteins. We found that NOEV strongly inhibited GALC activity in cell lysates of GALC-transfected COS1 cells. In vitro NOEV treatment stabilized GALC activity under heat denaturation conditions. We also examined the effect of NOEV on cultured COS1 cells expressing mutant GALC activity and human skin fibroblasts from Krabbe disease patients: NOEV significantly increased the enzyme activity of mutants of late-onset forms. Moreover, we confirmed that NOEV could enhance the maturation of GALC precursor to its mature active form. Model structural analysis showed NOEV binds to the active site of human GALC protein. These results, for the first time, provide clear evidence that NOEV is a chaperone with promising potential for patients with Krabbe disease resulting from the late-onset mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Galactosylceramidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Galactosylceramidase / chemistry
  • Galactosylceramidase / genetics*
  • Hexosamines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / drug therapy*
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / genetics*
  • Leukodystrophy, Globoid Cell / pathology
  • Molecular Chaperones / therapeutic use


  • Hexosamines
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • N-octyl-beta-valienamine
  • Galactosylceramidase