Molecular and cellular aspects and regulation of intestinal lactase-phlorizin hydrolase


  • Hassan Y. Naim


lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, biosynthesis, sorting, gene expression, deficiency


Carbohydrates are hydrolyzed in the intestinal lumen by specific enzymes to monosaccharides before transport across the brush border membrane of epithelial cells into the cell interior. The enzymes implicated in the digestion of carbohydrates in the intestinal lumen are membrane-bound glycoproteins that are expressed at the apical domain of the enterocytes. Absent or reduced activity of one of these enzymes is the cause of disaccharide intolerance and malabsorption, the symptoms of which are abdominal pain, cramps or distention, flatulence, nausea and osmotic diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is the most common intestinal disorder that is associated with an absence or drastically reduced levels of an intestinal enzyme, in this case lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LPH). The pattern of reduction of activity has been temed late onset of lactase deficiency or adult type hypolactasia. It was thought that the regulation of LPH was posttranslational and was associated with altered structural features of the enzyme. Recent studies, however, suggest that the major mechanism of regulation of LPH is transcriptional. Other forms of lactose intolerance include the rare congenital lactase deficiency and secondary forms, such as those caused by mucosa1 injury, due to infectious gastroenteritis, celiac disease, parasitic infection, drug-induced enteritis and Crohn's disease. This review will shed light on important strucural and biosynthetic aspects of LPH, the role played by particular regions of the LPH protein in its transport, polarized sorting, and function, as well as on the gene expession and regulation of the activity of the enzyme.