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J Exp Biol. 2004 Aug;207(Pt 18):3125-9.

Role of trehalose phosphate synthase and trehalose during hypoxia: from flies to mammals.

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Department of Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.


Trehalose is a nonreducing disaccharide in which the two glucose units are linked in an alpha,alpha-1,1-glycosidic linkage. The best known and most widely distributed pathway of trehalose synthesis involves the transfer of glucose from UDP-glucose to glucose 6-phosphate to form trehalose-6-phosphate and UDP via the trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS1). Trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase (TPS2) then converts trehalose-6-phosphate to free trehalose. This sugar is present in a wide variety of organisms, including bacteria, yeast, fungi, insects, invertebrates and plants, and because of its particular physical features, trehalose is able to protect the integrity of cells against a variety of environmental stresses such as desiccation, dehydration, heat, cold and oxidation. Our current studies described here indicate that trehalose protects Drosophila and mammalian cells from hypoxic and anoxic injury. The mechanism of this protection is probably related to a decrease in protein denaturation through protein-trehalose interactions.

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