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Biochem J. Aug 15, 1985; 230(1): 53–60.
PMCID: PMC1152585

The purification and properties of human liver ketohexokinase. A role for ketohexokinase and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase in the metabolic production of oxalate from xylitol.


Ketohexokinase (EC was purified to homogeneity from human liver, and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (EC was partially purified from the same source. Ketohexokinase was shown, by column chromatography and polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis, to be a dimer of Mr 75000. Inhibition studies with p-chloromercuribenzoate and N-ethylmaleimide indicate that ketohexokinase contains thiol groups, which are required for full activity. With D-xylulose as substrate, ketohexokinase and aldolase can catalyse a reaction sequence which forms glycolaldehyde, a known precursor of oxalate. The distribution of both enzymes in human tissues indicates that this reaction sequence occurs mainly in the liver, to a lesser extent in the kidney, and very little in heart, brain and muscle. The kinetic properties of ketohexokinase show that this enzyme can phosphorylate D-xylulose as readily as D-fructose, except that higher concentrations of D-xylulose are required. The kinetic properties of aldolase show that the enzyme has a higher affinity for D-xylulose 1-phosphate than for D-fructose 1-phosphate. These findings support a role for ketohexokinase and aldolase in the formation of glycolaldehyde. The effect of various metabolites on the activity of the two enzymes was tested to determine the conditions that favour the formation of glycolaldehyde from xylitol. The results indicate that few of these metabolites affect the activity of ketohexokinase, but that aldolase can be inhibited by several phosphorylated compounds. This work suggests that, although the formation of oxalate from xylitol is normally a minor pathway, under certain conditions of increased xylitol metabolism oxalate production can become significant and may result in oxalosis.

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Selected References

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