Null mutations in the N-acetylglutamate synthase gene associated with acute neonatal disease and hyperammonemia
ABSTRACT N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS) is a mitochondrial enzyme that catalyzes the formation of N-acetylglutamate, an essential allosteric activator of carbamyl phosphate synthetase I, the first enzyme of the urea cycle. Liver NAGS deficiency has previously been found in a small number of patients with hyperammonemia. The mouse and human NAGS genes have recently been cloned and expressed in our laboratory. We searched for mutations in the NAGS gene of two families with presumed NAGS deficiency. The exons and exon/intron boundaries of the NAGS gene were sequenced from genomic DNA obtained from the parents of an infant from the Faroe Islands who died in the neonatal period and from two Hispanic sisters who presented with acute neonatal hyperammonemia. Both parents of the first patient were found to be heterozygous for a null mutation in exon 4 (TGG-->TAG, Trp324Ter). Both sisters from the second family were homozygous for a single base deletion in exon 4 (1025delG) causing a frameshift and premature termination of translation. The finding of deleterious mutations in the NAGS gene confirms the genetic origin of NAGS deficiency. This disorder can now be diagnosed by DNA testing allowing for carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis.
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ABSTRACT: Carglumic acid is a structural analog and the first registered synthetic form of the naturally occurring allosteric activator of the urea cycle, N-acetylglutamate (NAG), which is the product of the enzyme NAG synthase (NAGS). Because NAG is essential for the function of carbamoylphosphate synthetase 1 as the first step of the urea cycle, a decreased availability of NAG due to primary or secondary defects of NAGS will affect ammonia detoxification in the urea cycle. Carglumic acid (Carbaglu®, Orphan Europe SARL, Paris, France) is approved for the acute and long-term treatment of primary defects of NAGS in Europe and the USA. In addition, it is approved in Europe for the treatment of acute hyperammonemia in patients with specific organic acidurias that can lead to NAG deficiency secondary to inhibition of NAGS. This article reviews the use of carglumic acid for both approved indications and considers the potential of this compound for acute hyperammonemias in general.Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism 01/2014; 7(3). DOI:10.1586/eem.12.17
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ABSTRACT: Abstract. Urea cycle disorders (UCD) may be due to defects of any of its six enzymes or two transporters. The diagnosis of the three mitochondrial enzymes, N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS), carbamylphosphate synthetase I (CPS1) and ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) depends on either molecular mutation analysis or measurement of enzyme activity for definitive diagnosis, whereas the diagnosis of deficiencies of the three cytosolic enzymes argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS), argininosuccinate lyase (ASL) and arginase I (ARG1) is usually straightforward, based on marker metabolites. Enzyme assays for all UCD have been used since the first description, for disease confirmation and in some instances even for prenatal diagnosis. The genetic bases of the UCD have only been unraveled from the 1980s; the last gene cloned being the NAGS gene in 2002. In this review we discuss the enzymatic assays for all urea cycle enzymes from a historical perspective, their potential and drawbacks, and the current role of enzymatic analysis in UCD in general.
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ABSTRACT: Valproic acid, which is widely used to treat various types of epilepsy, may cause severe hyperammonemia. However, the mechanism responsible for this side effect is not readily apparent. Polymorphisms in the genes encoding carbamoyl-phosphate synthase 1 (CPS1) and N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS) were recently reported to be risk factors for the development of hyperammonemia during valproic acid-based therapy. This study aimed to examine the influence of patient characteristics, including polymorphisms in CPS1 4217C > A and NAGS -3064C > A, on the development of hyperammonemia in Japanese pediatric epilepsy patients. The study included 177 pediatric epilepsy patients. The presence of a 4217C > A polymorphism in CPS1 was determined using an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method, and the presence of a -3064C > A polymorphism in NAGS was determined using a PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Hyperammonemia was defined as a plasma ammonia level exceeding 200 μg/dL. We observed a significant difference between the combination of valproic acid with phenytoin and the development of hyperammonemia in both univariate and multivariate analyses. With regard to the CPS1 4217C > A polymorphism, we did not observe a significant association with the development of hyperammonemia. In conclusion, CPS1 4217C > A polymorphism may not be associated with the development of hyperammonemia in Japanese population.Epilepsy Research 08/2014; 108(6). DOI:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2014.04.008 · 2.19 Impact Factor