Gaucher disease. III. Substrate specificity of glucocerebrosidase and the use of nonlabeled natural substrates for the investigation of patients.
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A reproducible and convenient method for assaying glucocerebrosidase activity using the natural substrates has been developed. From the insoluble pellet fraction of cultured skin fibroblast homogenates, released glucose was measured enzymically using hexokinase coupled with the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP) system. Optimal enzyme assay conditions required both Triton X-100 and sodium taurocholate, pH 4.8. Glucocerebrosidase activities from three patients with type 1 Gaucher disease were 17.5%, 15.8%, and 11.2% of normal (normal = 198 +/- 14 nmol/hr per mg protein, n = 3). The first patient had normal beta-glucosidase activity with the artificial fluorogenic umbelliferone substrate. Interference with the accuracy of the glucose-dependent assay system by either glycolytic or gluconeogenic enzyme activites was not detected under these experimental conditions, and when substrates with long fatty-acid chain lengths (C = 22) were used, markedly decreased glucocerebrosidase activity occurred in both normal individuals and patients. The apparent Km's for the natural substrates were 0.56 +/- 0.05 mM for controls and 2.2-3.3 mM for Gaucher fibroblasts. These data further support the hypothesis that a structurally altered and catalytically deficient enzyme is synthesized in patients with type 1 Gaucher disease and illustrate the value of the natural substrate in investigating patients.
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