Glycomimetic-based pharmacological chaperones for lysosomal storage disorders: lessons from Gaucher, GM1-gangliosidosis and Fabry diseases
Lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) are often caused by mutations that destabilize native folding and impair the trafficking of enzymes, leading to premature endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation, deficiencies of specific hydrolytic functions and aberrant storage of metabolites in the lysosomes. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) and substrate reduction therapy (SRT) are available for a few of these conditions, but most remain orphan. A main difficulty is that virtually all LSDs involve neurological decline and neither proteins nor the current SRT drugs can cross the blood–brain barrier. Twenty years ago a new therapeutic paradigm better suited for neuropathic LSDs was launched, namely pharmacological chaperone (PC) therapy. PCs are small molecules capable of binding to the mutant protein at the ER, inducing proper folding, restoring trafficking and increasing enzyme activity and substrate processing in the lysosome. In many LSDs the mutated protein is a glycosidase and the accumulated substrate is an oligo- or polysaccharide or a glycoconjugate, e.g. a glycosphingolipid. Although it might appear counterintuitive, substrate analogues (glycomimetics) behaving as competitive glycosidase inhibitors are good candidates to perform PC tasks. The advancements in the knowledge of the molecular basis of LSDs, including enzyme structures, binding modes, trafficking pathways and substrate processing mechanisms, have been put forward to optimize PC selectivity and efficacy. Moreover, the chemical versatility of glycomimetics and the variety of structures at hand allow simultaneous optimization of chaperone and pharmacokinetic properties. In this Feature Article we review the advancements made in this field in the last few years and the future outlook through the lessons taught by three archetypical LSDs: Gaucher disease, GM1-gangliosidosis and Fabry disease.