High overexpression of the human α-galactosidase a gene driven by its promoter in transgenic mice: Implications for the treatment of fabry disease

Grace A. Ashley, Robert J. Desnick, Ronald E. Gordon, Jon W. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Human α-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) is the lysosomal enzyme that cleaves α-galactosyl residues from glycoconjugates and is the deficient enzyme in Fabry disease. To date, there have been no studies on the regulation of this "housekeeping" gene. Methods: Transgenic mice were established with either 1) a 13.3-kilobase (kb) human genomic fragment that contained 246 bp of 5′- and approximately 2.8 kb of 3′- untranslated sequences, or 2) an "intronless" construct derived from the genomic sequence with the 5′ and 3′ flanking regions intact. Tissues that expressed high levels of α-Gal A activity were examined by light and electron microscopy. Results: Transgenic mice were generated with 2 and 12 copies of the genomic sequence (Lines 1 and 2) or about 60 copies of the intronless construct (Lines 3 and 4). In mice hemizygous for the genomic transgene (Lines 1 and 2), tissue α-Gal A activities were 12 to 155 times higher than those in the respective wild-type tissue, depending on tissue and transgene copy number. Of note, the high overexpression did not alter the cellular or subcellular cytoarchitecture. In contrast, α-Gal A activities expressed by mice that carried the intronless construct were only two- to sixfold more than in wild-type tissues in which the genomic transgene was highly expressed. Conclusions: The remarkably high levels of α-Gal A expression in transgenic mice carrying the intact genomic sequence versus the intronless construct suggested that the genomic sequence contained a strong intronic enhancer element. Identification of this regulatory element or elements may be useful in efforts to overexpress human α-Gal A for gene therapy endeavors. In addition, overexpression of human α-Gal A did not affect cellular morphology, which indicates that its overexpression in gene therapy endeavors should be safe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Fabry disease
  • Gene regulation
  • Promoter sequences
  • Transgenic mice
  • α-galactosidase A

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