Involvement in diseaseDefects in GALE are the cause of epimerase-deficiency galactosemia (EDG) [MIM:230350]; also known as galactosemia type 3. Clinical features include early-onset cataracts, liver damage, deafness and mental retardation. There are two clinically distinct forms of EDG. (1) A benign, or 'peripheral' form with no detectable GALE activity in red blood cells and characterized by mild symptoms. Some patients may suffer no symptoms beyond raised levels of galactose-1-phosphate in the blood. (2) A much rarer 'generalized' form with undetectable levels of GALE activity in all tissues and resulting in severe features such as restricted growth and mental development.
Sequence similaritiesBelongs to the sugar epimerase family.