hexosaminidase subunit alpha
HEXA is a member of the glycosyl hydrolase 20 family of proteins. The encoded preproprotein is proteolytically processed to generate the alpha subunit of the lysosomal enzyme beta-hexosaminidase. This enzyme, together with the cofactor GM2 activator protein, catalyzes the degradation of the ganglioside GM2, and other molecules containing terminal N-acetyl hexosamines. Mutations in this gene lead to an accumulation of GM2 ganglioside in neurons, the underlying cause of neurodegenerative disorders termed the GM2 gangliosidoses, including Tay-Sachs disease (GM2-gangliosidosis type I).