A GNPTAB nonsense variant is associated with feline mucolipidosis II (I-cell disease)

BMC Vet Res. 2018 Dec 27;14(1):416. doi: 10.1186/s12917-018-1728-1.


Background: Mucolipidosis II (ML II; I-cell disease) is caused by a deficiency of N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphotransferase (GNPTAB; EC, which leads to a failure to internalize acid hydrolases into lysosomes for proper catabolism of various substances. This is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease and causes severe progressive neuropathy and oculoskeletal dysfunction in humans (OMIM 252500). A naturally occurring disease model has been reported in juvenile domestic cats (OMIA 001248-9685) with clinical signs similar to human patients. We investigated the molecular genetic basis of ML II in a colony of affected cats by sequencing the coding and regulatory regions of GNPTAB from affected and clinically healthy related and unrelated domestic cats and compared the sequences to the published feline genome sequence (NCBI-RefSeq accession no. XM_003989173.4, Gene ID: 101100231).

Results: All affected cats were homozygous for a single base substitution (c.2644C > T) in exon 13 of GNPTAB. This variant results in a premature stop codon (p.Gln882*) which predicts severe truncation and complete dysfunction of the GNPTAB enzyme. About 140 GNPTAB variants have been described in human ML II patients, with 41.3% nonsense/missense mutations, nine occurring in the same gene region as in this feline model. Restriction fragment length polymorphism and allelic discrimination real-time polymerase chain reaction assays accurately differentiated between clear, asymptomatic carriers and homozygous affected cats.

Conclusion: Molecular genetic characterization advances this large animal model of ML II for use to further define the pathophysiology of the disease and evaluate novel therapeutic approaches for this fatal lysosomal storage disease in humans.

Keywords: Animal model; Cat; Lysosomal storage disease; Mutation; N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphotransferase; Neuropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / enzymology*
  • Cat Diseases / genetics*
  • Cats
  • Codon, Terminator / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Mucolipidoses / genetics
  • Mucolipidoses / veterinary*
  • Mutation
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups) / chemistry
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups) / genetics*


  • Codon, Terminator
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)