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In Silico Analysis of the Molecular-Level Impact of SMPD1 Variants on Niemann-Pick Disease Severity

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase (SMPD1) is a key enzyme in the sphingolipid metabolism. Genetic SMPD1 variants have been related to the Niemann-Pick lysosomal storage disorder, which has different degrees of phenotypic severity ranging from severe symptomatology involving the central nervous system (type A) to milder ones (type B). They have also been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson and Alzheimer. In this paper, we leveraged structural, evolutionary and stability information on SMPD1 to predict and analyze the impact of variants at the molecular level. We developed the SMPD1-ZooM algorithm, which is able to predict with good accuracy whether variants cause Niemann-Pick disease and its phenotypic severity; the predictor is freely available for download. We performed a large-scale analysis of all possible SMPD1 variants, which led us to identify protein regions that are either robust or fragile with respect to amino acid variations, and show the importance of aromatic-involving interactions in SMPD1 function and stability. Our study also revealed a good correlation between SMPD1-ZooM scores and in vitro loss of SMPD1 activity. The understanding of the molecular effects of SMPD1 variants is of crucial importance to improve genetic screening of SMPD1-related disorders and to develop personalized treatments that restore SMPD1 functionality.

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN: 1661-6596
Issue: 9
Volume: 22
Publication year:2021
Keywords:Computer Simulation, Databases, Genetic, Exons/genetics, Genetic Variation/genetics, Humans, Mutation/genetics, Niemann-Pick Diseases/genetics, Phenotype, Severity of Illness Index, Sphingolipids/genetics, Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/genetics
Accessibility:Open