Lysosomal free sialic acid storage diseases are recessively inherited allelic neurodegenerative disorders that include Salla disease (SD) and infantile sialic acid storage disease (ISSD) caused by mutations in the SLC17A5 gene encoding for a lysosomal membrane protein, sialin, transporting sialic acid from lysosomes. The classical form of SD, enriched in the Finnish population, is related to the p.R39C designed SallaFINfounder mutation. A more severe phenotype is due both to compound heterozygosity for the p.R39C mutation and to different mutations. The p.R39C has not been reported in ISSD. We identified the first case of SD caused by the homozygosity for p.K136E (c.406A>G) mutation, showing a severe clinical picture, as demonstrated by the early age at onset, the degree of motor retardation, the occurrence of peripheral nerve involvement, as well as cerebral hypomyelination. Recently, in vitro functional studies have shown that the p.K136E mutant produces a mislocalization and a reduced activity of the intracellular sialin. We discuss the in vivo phenotypic consequence of the p.K136E in relation to the results obtained by the in vitro functional characterization of the p.K136E mutant. The severity of the clinical picture, in comparison with the classical SD, may be explained by the fact that the p.K136E mutation mislocalizes the protein to a greater degree than p.R39C. On the other hand, the presence of a residual transport activity may account for the absence of hepatosplenomegaly, dysostosis multiplex, and early lethality typical of ISSD and related to the abolished transport activity found in this latter form.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Biancheri, R., Rossi, A., Verbeek, J., Schot, R., Corsolini, F., Assereto, S., … Filocamo, M. (2005). Homozygosity for the p.K136E mutation in the SLC17A5 gene as cause of an Italian severe Salla disease. Neurogenetics, 6(4), 195–199. doi:10.1007/s10048-005-0011-3