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Phenylalanine Hydroxylase Misfolding and Pharmacological Chaperones

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 22 ]

Author(s):

Jarl Underhaug, Oscar Aubi and Aurora Martinez   Pages 2534 - 2545 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a loss-of-function inborn error of metabolism. As many other inherited diseases the main pathologic mechanism in PKU is an enhanced tendency of the mutant phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) to misfold and undergo ubiquitin-dependent degradation. Recent alternative approaches with therapeutic potential for PKU aim at correcting the PAH misfolding, and in this respect pharmacological chaperones are the focus of increasing interest. These compounds, which often resemble the natural ligands and show mild competitive inhibition, can rescue the misfolded proteins by stimulating their renaturation in vivo. For PKU, a few studies have proven the stabilization of PKU-mutants in vitro, in cells, and in mice by pharmacological chaperones, which have been found either by using the tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) cofactor as query structure for shape-focused virtual screening or by high-throughput screening of small compound libraries. Both approaches have revealed a number of compounds, most of which bind at the iron-binding site, competitively with respect to BH4. Furthermore, PAH shares a number of ligands, such as BH4, amino acid substrates and inhibitors, with the other aromatic amino acid hydroxylases: the neuronal/neuroendocrine enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and the tryptophan hydroxylases (TPHs). Recent results indicate that the PAH-targeted pharmacological chaperones should also be tested on TH and the TPHs, and eventually be derivatized to avoid unwanted interactions with these other enzymes. After derivatization and validation in animal models, the PAH-chaperoning compounds represent novel possibilities in the treatment of PKU.

Keywords:

Phenylalanine hydroxylase, pharmachaperones, high-throughput screening, pharmacophore modeling, folding aids

Affiliation:

Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Jonas Lies vei 91, 5009 Bergen, Norway.



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