N-carbamylglutamate enhancement of ureagenesis leads to discovery of a novel deleterious mutation in a newly defined enhancer of the NAGS gene and to effective therapy.
ABSTRACT N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS) catalyzes the conversion of glutamate and acetyl-CoA to NAG, the essential allosteric activator of carbamyl phosphate synthetase I, the first urea cycle enzyme in mammals. A 17-year-old female with recurrent hyperammonemia attacks, the cause of which remained undiagnosed for 8 years in spite of multiple molecular and biochemical investigations, showed markedly enhanced ureagenesis (measured by isotope incorporation) in response to N-carbamylglutamate (NCG). This led to sequencing of the regulatory regions of the NAGS gene and identification of a deleterious single-base substitution in the upstream enhancer. The homozygous mutation (c.-3064C>A), affecting a highly conserved nucleotide within the hepatic nuclear factor 1 (HNF-1) binding site, was not found in single nucleotide polymorphism databases and in a screen of 1,086 alleles from a diverse population. Functional assays demonstrated that this mutation decreases transcription and binding of HNF-1 to the NAGS gene, while a consensus HNF-1 binding sequence enhances binding to HNF-1 and increases transcription. Oral daily NCG therapy restored ureagenesis in this patient, normalizing her biochemical markers, and allowing discontinuation of alternate pathway therapy and normalization of her diet with no recurrence of hyperammonemia. Inc.
- SourceAvailable from: Ljubica Caldovic[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The urea cycle converts toxic ammonia to urea within the liver of mammals. At least 6 enzymes are required for ureagenesis, which correlates with dietary protein intake. The transcription of urea cycle genes is, at least in part, regulated by glucocorticoid and glucagon hormone signaling pathways. N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS) produces a unique cofactor, N-acetylglutamate (NAG), that is essential for the catalytic function of the first and rate-limiting enzyme of ureagenesis, carbamyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1). However, despite the important role of NAGS in ammonia removal, little is known about the mechanisms of its regulation. We identified two regions of high conservation upstream of the translation start of the NAGS gene. Reporter assays confirmed that these regions represent promoter and enhancer and that the enhancer is tissue specific. Within the promoter, we identified multiple transcription start sites that differed between liver and small intestine. Several transcription factor binding motifs were conserved within the promoter and enhancer regions while a TATA-box motif was absent. DNA-protein pull-down assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed binding of Sp1 and CREB, but not C/ EBP in the promoter and HNF-1 and NF-Y, but not SMAD3 or AP-2 in the enhancer. The functional importance of these motifs was demonstrated by decreased transcription of reporter constructs following mutagenesis of each motif. The presented data strongly suggest that Sp1, CREB, HNF-1, and NF-Y, that are known to be responsive to hormones and diet, regulate NAGS transcription. This provides molecular mechanism of regulation of ureagenesis in response to hormonal and dietary changes. This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.01/2012;
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Stable isotopes have greatly contributed to our understanding of nitrogen metabolism and the urea cycle. The measurement of urea flux via isotopic methods has traditionally been utilized to determine total body protein synthesis in subjects with an intact urea cycle. However, isotopic studies of nitrogen metabolism are also a useful adjunct to conventional clinical investigations in the diagnosis and management of the inherited hyperammonemias. Such studies offer a safe non-invasive method of measuring the reduction of in vivo hepatic ureagenesis, and thus may provide a more accurate measure of phenotypic severity in affected patients. In addition, isotopic methods are ideally suited to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapies to augment urea production.Journal of pediatric biochemistry. 01/2014; 4(1):57-63.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Identical studies using stable isotopes were performed before and after a 3-day trial of oral N-carbamyl-l-glutamate (NCG) in 5 subjects with late-onset carbamyl phosphate synthetase deficiency. NCG augmented ureagenesis and decreased plasma ammonia in 4 of 5 subjects. There was marked improvement in nitrogen metabolism with long-term NCG administration in 1 subject.The Journal of pediatrics. 05/2014;