Human ITPase (encoded by the ITPA gene) is a protective enzyme which acts to exclude noncanonical (deoxy) nucleoside triphosphates ((d)NTPs) such as (deoxy)inosine 5′-triphosphate ((d)ITP), from (d)NTP pools. Until the last few years, the importance of ITPase in human health and disease has been enigmatic. In 2009, an article was published demonstrating that ITPase deficiency in mice is lethal. All homozygous null offspring died before weaning as a result of cardiomyopathy due to a defect in the maintenance of quality ATP pools. More recently, a whole exome sequencing project revealed that very rare, severe human ITPA mutation results in early infantile encephalopathy and death. It has been estimated that nearly one third of the human population has an ITPA status which is associated with decreased ITPase activity. ITPA status has been linked to altered outcomes for patients undergoing thiopurine or ribavirin therapy. Thiopurine therapy can be toxic for patients with ITPA polymorphism, however, ITPA polymorphism is associated with improved outcomes for patients undergoing ribavirin treatment. ITPA polymorphism has also been linked to early-onset tuberculosis susceptibility. These data suggest a spectrum of ITPA-related disease exists in human populations. Potentially, ITPA status may affect a large number of patient outcomes, suggesting that modulation of ITPase activity is an important emerging avenue for reducing the number of negative outcomes for ITPA-related disease. Recent biochemical studies have aimed to provide rationale for clinical observations, better understand substrate selectivity and provide a platform for modulation of ITPase activity.
Original Publication Title
Journal of Biomedical Science
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Burgis, Nicholas E., "A disease spectrum for ITPA variation: advances in biochemical and clinical research" (2016). Chemistry and Biochemistry Faculty Publications. 29.