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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Sep 2022 - 16 Sep 2022

2022 Dec

Mol Genet Metab Rep


Generation of GLA-knockout human embryonic stem cell lines to model peripheral neuropathy in Fabry disease.


Kaneski CR, Hanover JA, Schueler Hoffman UH
Mol Genet Metab Rep. 2022 Dec; 33:100914.
PMID: 36092250.


Fabry disease is an X-linked glycolipid storage disorder caused by mutations in the gene which result in a deficiency in the lysosomal enzyme alpha galactosidase A (AGA). As a result, the glycolipid substrate Gb3 accumulates in critical tissues and organs producing a progressive debilitating disease. In Fabry disease up to 80% of patients experience life-long neuropathic pain that is difficult to treat and greatly affects their quality of life. The molecular mechanisms by which deficiency of AGA leads to neuropathic pain are not well understood, due in part to a lack of models that can be used to study the underlying pathology at the cellular level. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, we generated two clones with mutations in the gene from a human embryonic stem cell line. Our clonal cell lines maintained normal stem cell morphology and markers for pluripotency, and showed the phenotypic characteristics of Fabry disease including absent AGA activity and intracellular accumulation of Gb3. Mutations in the predicted locations in exon 1 of the gene were confirmed. Using established techniques for dual-SMAD inhibition/WNT activation, we were able to show that our AGA-deficient clones, as well as wild-type controls, could be differentiated to peripheral-type sensory neurons that express pain receptors. This genetically and physiologically relevant human model system offers a new and promising tool for investigating the cellular mechanisms of peripheral neuropathy in Fabry disease and may assist in the development of new therapeutic strategies to help lessen the burden of this disease.