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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fungal metabolic model for human type I hereditary tyrosinaemia.

Type I hereditary tyrosinaemia (HT1) is a severe human inborn disease resulting from loss of fumaryl-acetoacetate hydrolase ( Fah). Homozygous disruption of the gene encoding Fah in mice causes neonatal lethality, seriously limiting use of this animal as a model. We report here that fahA, the gene encoding Fah in the fungus Aspergillus nidulans, encodes a polypeptide showing 47.1% identity to its human homologue, fahA disruption results in secretion of succinylacetone (a diagnostic compound for human type I tyrosinaemia) and phenylalanine toxicity. We have isolated spontaneous suppressor mutations preventing this toxicity, presumably representing loss-of-function mutations in genes acting upstream of fahA in the phenylalanine catabolic pathway. Analysis of a class of these mutations demonstrates that loss of homogentisate dioxygenase (leading to alkaptonuria in humans) prevents the effects of a Fah deficiency. Our results strongly suggest human homogentisate dioxygenase as a target for HT1 therapy and illustrate the usefulness of this fungus as an alternative to animal models for certain aspects of human metabolic diseases.[1]


  1. Fungal metabolic model for human type I hereditary tyrosinaemia. Fernández-Cañón, J.M., Peñalva, M.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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