The NAGA gene provides instructions for making the enzyme alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase. This enzyme works in the lysosomes, which are compartments within cells that digest and recycle materials. Within lysosomes, the enzyme helps break down complexes called glycoproteins and glycolipids, which consist of sugar molecules attached to certain proteins and fats. Specifically, alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase helps remove a molecule called alpha-N-acetylgalactosamine from sugars in these complexes.
Approximately seven NAGA gene mutations have been identified in people with Schindler disease. Most of these mutations are believed to change the 3-dimensional shape of the alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase enzyme, interfering with its ability to break down glycoproteins and glycolipids. These substances accumulate in the lysosomes and cause cells to malfunction and eventually die. Cell damage in the various tissues and organs of the body leads to neurological problems and the other signs and symptoms of Schindler disease.
- Acetylgalactosaminidase, alpha-N- (alpha-galactosidase B)
- alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase precursor
- N-acetylgalactosaminidase, alpha-