Degradation of GAA in engineered cells
Here the authors report the engineering of human red blood cells with an entire metabolic pathway as a potential strategy to treat patients with guanidinoacetate methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency, capable of reducing the high toxic levels of guanidinoacetate acid (GAA) and restoring proper creatine levels in blood and tissues. We first produced a recombinant form of native human GAMT without any tags to encapsulate into RBCs. Due to the poor solubility and stability features of the recombinant enzyme, both bioinformatics studies and extensive optimization work were performed to select a mutant GAMT enzyme, where only four critical residues were replaced, as a lead candidate. However, GAMT-loaded RBCs were ineffective in GAA consumption and creatine production because of the limiting intra-erythrocytic S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) content unable to support GAMT activity. Therefore, a recombinant form of human methionine adenosyl transferase (MAT) was developed. RBCs co-entrapped with both GAMT and MAT enzymes performed, in vitro, as a competent cellular bioreactor to remove GAA and produce creatine, fueled by physiological concentrations of methionine and the ATP generated by glycolysis. Our results highlight that metabolic engineering of RBCs is possible and represents proof of concept for the design of novel therapeutic approaches.
Bianchi M, Rossi L, Pierigè F, De Angeli P, Aliano MP, Carducci C, Di Carlo E, Pascucci T, Nardecchia F, Leuzzi V, Magnani M. Engineering new metabolic pathways in isolated cells for the degradation of guanidinoacetic acid and simultaneous production of creatine. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Feb 22;25:26-40. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2022.02.007.