Primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of glyoxylate metabolism caused by the deficiency of liver peroxisomal alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme. The PH1 pathogenesis is mostly due to single point mutations (more than 150 so far identified) on the AGXT gene, and is characterized by a marked heterogeneity in terms of genotype, enzymatic and clinical phenotypes. This article presents an up to date review of selected aspects of the biochemical properties of the two allelic forms of AGT and of some PH1-causing variants. These recent discoveries highlight the effects at the protein level of the pathogenic mutations, and, together with previous cell biology and clinical data, (i) improve the understanding of the molecular basis of PH1 pathogenesis, and (ii) help to delineate perspectives for predicting the response to pyridoxine treatment or for suggesting new strategies for PH1 patients bearing the analyzed mutations.
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