Protein misfolding is becoming one of the main mechanisms underlying inherited enzymatic deficits. This review is focused on primary hyperoxalurias, a group of disorders of glyoxylate detoxification associated with massive calcium oxalate deposition mainly in the kidneys. The most common and severe form, primary hyperoxaluria Type I, is due to the deficit of liver peroxisomal alanine/glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT). Various studies performed in the last decade clearly evidence that many pathogenic missense mutations prevent the AGT correct folding, leading to various downstream effects including aggregation, increased degradation or mistargeting to mitochondria. Primary hyperoxaluria Type II and primary hyperoxaluria Type III are due to the deficit of glyoxylate reductase/hydroxypyruvate reductase (GRHPR) and 4-hydroxy-2-oxoglutarate aldolase (HOGA1), respectively. Although the molecular features of pathogenic variants of GRHPR and HOGA1 have not been investigated in detail, the data available suggest that some of them display folding defects. Thus, primary hyperoxalurias can be ranked among protein misfolding disorders, because in most cases the enzymatic deficit is due to the inability of each enzyme to reach its native and functional conformation. It follows that molecules able to improve the folding yield of the enzymes involved in each disease form could represent new therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: 4-Hydroxy-2-oxoglutarate aldolase; Alanine/glyoxylate aminotransferase; Glyoxylate reductase/hydroxypyruvate reductase; Pharmacological chaperones; Primary hyperoxaluria; Protein aggregation; Protein misfolding; Rare disease.