Arginine does not rescue p.Q188R mutation deleterious effect in classic galactosemia

Minela Haskovic, Britt Derks, Liesbeth van der Ploeg, Jorn Trommelen, Jean Nyakayiru, Luc J. C. van Loon, Sabrina Mackinnon, Wyatt W. Yue, Roy W. A. Peake, Li Zha, Didem Demirbas, Wanshu Qi, Xiaoping Huang, Gerard T. Berry, Jelle Achten, Joergen Bierau, M. Estela Rubio-Gozalbo*, Ana I. Coelho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BackgroundClassic galactosemia is a rare genetic metabolic disease with an unmet treatment need. Current standard of care fails to prevent chronically-debilitating brain and gonadal complications.Many mutations in the GALT gene responsible for classic galactosemia have been described to give rise to variants with conformational abnormalities. This pathogenic mechanism is highly amenable to a therapeutic strategy based on chemical/pharmacological chaperones. Arginine, a chemical chaperone, has shown beneficial effect in other inherited metabolic disorders, as well as in a prokaryotic model of classic galactosemia.The p.Q188R mutation presents a high prevalence in the Caucasian population, making it a very clinically relevant mutation. This mutation gives rise to a protein with lower conformational stability and lower catalytic activity. The aim of this study is to assess the potential therapeutic role of arginine for this mutation.MethodsArginine aspartate administration to four patients with the p.Q188R/p.Q188R mutation, in vitro studies with three fibroblast cell lines derived from classic galactosemia patients as well as recombinant protein experiments were used to evaluate the effect of arginine in galactose metabolism. This study has been registered at (NCT03580122) on 09 July 2018. Retrospectively registered.ResultsFollowing a month of arginine administration, patients did not show a significant improvement of whole-body galactose oxidative capacity (p=0.22), erythrocyte GALT activity (p=0.87), urinary galactose (p=0.52) and urinary galactitol levels (p=0.41). Patients' fibroblasts exposed to arginine did not show changes in GALT activity. Thermal shift analysis of recombinant p.Q188R GALT protein in the presence of arginine did not exhibit a positive effect.ConclusionsThis short pilot study in four patients homozygous for the p.Q188R/p.Q188R mutation reveals that arginine has no potential therapeutic role for galactosemia patients homozygous for the p.Q188R mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
Number of pages8
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2018


  • Classic galactosemia
  • Inherited metabolic disorder
  • Galactose metabolism
  • Arginine
  • Amino acid supplementation
  • Chemical chaperones


Dive into the research topics of 'Arginine does not rescue p.Q188R mutation deleterious effect in classic galactosemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this