The majority of mucopolysaccharidosis IIIC (MPS IIIC) patients have missense variants causing misfolding of heparan sulfate acetyl-CoA:α-glucosaminide N-acetyltransferase (HGSNAT), which are potentially treatable with pharmacological chaperones. To test this approach, we generated a novel HgsnatP304L mouse model expressing misfolded HGSNAT Pro304Leu variant. HgsnatP304L mice present deficits in short-term and working/spatial memory 2–4 mo earlier than previously described constitutive knockout Hgsnat-Geo mice. HgsnatP304L mice also show augmented severity of neuroimmune response, synaptic deficits, and neuronal storage of misfolded proteins and gangliosides compared with Hgsnat-Geo mice. Expression of misfolded human Pro311Leu HGSNAT protein in cultured hippocampal Hgsnat-Geo neurons further reduced levels of synaptic proteins. Memory deficits and majority of brain pathology were rescued in mice receiving HGSNAT chaperone, glucosamine. Our data for the first time demonstrate dominant-negative effects of misfolded HGSNAT Pro304Leu variant and show that they are treatable by oral administration of glucosamine. This suggests that patients affected with mutations preventing normal folding of the enzyme can benefit from chaperone therapy.

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