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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Dec 2023 - 8 Dec 2023

2023 Dec 12

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A




ALPK1 mutants causing ROSAH syndrome or Spiradenoma are activated by human nucleotide sugars.


Snelling T, Saalfrank A, Wood NT, Cohen P


The atypical protein kinase ALPK1 is activated by the bacterial nucleotide sugar ADP-heptose and phosphorylates TIFA to switch on a signaling pathway that combats microbial infection. In contrast, ALPK1 mutations cause two human diseases: the ALPK1[T237M] and ALPK1[Y254C] mutations underlie ROSAH syndrome (retinal dystrophy, optic nerve oedema, splenomegaly, anhidrosis, and migraine headache), while the ALPK1[V1092A] mutation accounts for 45% of spiradenoma and 30% of spiradenocarcinoma cases studied. In this study, we demonstrate that unlike wild-type (WT) ALPK1, the disease-causing ALPK1 mutants trigger the TIFA-dependent activation of an NF-κB/activator protein 1 reporter gene in the absence of ADP-heptose, which can be suppressed by either of two additional mutations in the ADP-heptose binding site that prevent the activation of WT ALPK1 by ADP-heptose. These observations are explained by our key finding that although ALPK1[T237M] and ALPK1[V1092A] are activated by bacterial ADP-heptose, they can also be activated by nucleotide sugars present in human cells (UDP-mannose, ADP-ribose, and cyclic ADP-ribose) which can be prevented by disruption of the ADP-heptose binding site. The ALPK1[V1092A] mutant was also activated by GDP-mannose, which did not activate ALPK1[T237M]. These are new examples of disease-causing mutations permitting the allosteric activation of an enzyme by endogenous molecules that the WT enzyme does not respond to. We propose that the loss of the specificity of ALPK1 for bacterial ADP-heptose underlies ROSAH syndrome and spiradenoma/spiradenocarcinoma caused by ALPK1 mutation.