PPA1 Deficiency Causes a Deranged Galactose Metabolism Recognizable in Neonatal Screening

Melanie T Achleitner, Judith J M Jans, Laura Ebner, Johannes Spenger, Vassiliki Konstantopoulou, René G Feichtinger, Karin Brugger, Doris Mayr, Ron A Wevers, Christian Thiel, Saskia B Wortmann, Johannes A Mayr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Two siblings showed increased galactose and galactose-related metabolites in neonatal screening. Diagnostic workup did not reveal abnormalities in any of the known disease-causing enzymes involved in galactose metabolism. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified a homozygous missense variant in PPA1 encoding the cytosolic pyrophosphatase 1 (PPA1), c.557C>T (p.Thr186Ile). The enzyme activity of PPA1 was determined using a colorimetric assay, and the protein content was visualized via western blotting in skin fibroblasts from one of the affected individuals. The galactolytic activity of the affected fibroblasts was determined by measuring extracellular acidification with a Seahorse XFe96 analyzer. PPA1 activity decreased to 22% of that of controls in the cytosolic fraction of homogenates from patient fibroblasts. PPA1 protein content decreased by 50% according to western blot analysis, indicating a reduced stability of the variant protein. The extracellular acidification rate was reduced in patient fibroblasts when galactose was used as a substrate. Untargeted metabolomics of blood samples revealed an elevation of other metabolites related to pyrophosphate metabolism. Besides hyperbilirubinemia in the neonatal period in one child, both children were clinically unremarkable at the ages of 3 and 14 years, respectively. We hypothesize that the observed metabolic derangement is a possible mild manifestation of PPA1 deficiency. Unresolved abnormalities in galactosemia screening might result in the identification of more individuals with PPA1 deficiency, a newly discovered inborn metabolic disorder (IMD).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1141
Number of pages14
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2023


  • PPA1
  • galactose
  • galactosemia
  • hyperbilirubinemia
  • inborn metabolic disorder
  • pyrophosphate


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