Structural analysis of missense mutations in galactokinase 1 (GALK1) leading to galactosemia type-2

J Cell Biochem. 2018 Sep;119(9):7585-7598. doi: 10.1002/jcb.27097. Epub 2018 Jun 12.


Galactosemia type 2 is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by the deficiency of galactokinase (GALK) enzyme due to missense mutations in GALK1 gene, which is associated with various manifestations such as hyper galactosemia and formation of cataracts. GALK enzyme catalyzes the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent phosphorylation of α-d-galactose to galactose-1-phosphate. We searched 4 different literature databases (Google Scholar, PubMed, PubMed Central, and Science Direct) and 3 gene-variant databases (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, Human Gene Mutation Database, and UniProt) to collect all the reported missense mutations associated with GALK deficiency. Our search strategy yielded 32 missense mutations. We used several computational tools (pathogenicity and stability, biophysical characterization, and physiochemical analyses) to prioritize the most significant mutations for further analyses. On the basis of the pathogenicity and stability predictions, 3 mutations (P28T, A198V, and L139P) were chosen to be tested further for physicochemical characterization, molecular docking, and simulation analyses. Molecular docking analysis revealed a decrease in interaction between the protein and ATP in all the 3 mutations, and molecular dynamic simulations of 50 ns showed a loss of stability and compactness in the mutant proteins. As the next step, comparative physicochemical changes of the native and the mutant proteins were carried out using essential dynamics. Overall, P28T and A198V were predicted to alter the structure and function of GALK protein when compared to the mutant L139P. This study demonstrates the power of computational analysis in variant classification and interpretation and provides a platform for developing targeted therapeutics.

Keywords: GALK1 gene; adenosine triphosphate; galactokinase deficiency; galactosemia type 2; in silico predictions; molecular dynamics simulations; variant classification and interpretation.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Galactokinase / genetics*
  • Galactokinase / metabolism
  • Galactosemias / genetics*
  • Galactosemias / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Docking Simulation*
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • GALK1 protein, human
  • Galactokinase