Author(s): Li YT, Maskos K, Chou CW, Cole RB, Li SC
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Abstract Tay-Sachs disease (TSD) is a classical glycosphingolipid (GSL) storage disease. Although the genetic and biochemical bases for a massive cerebral accumulation of ganglioside GM2 in TSD have been well established, the mechanism for the neural dysfunction in TSD remains elusive. Upon analysis of GSLs from a variant B TS brain, we have detected a novel GSL that has not been previously revealed. We have isolated this GSL in pure form. Using NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and chemical synthesis, the structure of this unusual GSL was established to be a taurine-conjugated GM2 (tauro-GM2) in which the carboxyl group of N-acetylneuraminic acid was amidated by taurine. Using a rabbit anti-tauro-GM2 serum, we also detected the presence of tauro-GM2 in three other small brain samples from one variant B and two variant O TSD patients. On the other hand, tauro-GM2 was not found in three normal human brain samples. The presence of tauro-GM2 in TS brains, but not in normal brains, indicates the possible association of this unusual GM2 derivative with the pathogenesis of TSD. Our findings point to taurine conjugation as a heretofore unelucidated mechanism for TS brain to cope with water-insoluble GM2.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics