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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Dec;1792(12):1168-74. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2009.09.012. Epub 2009 Sep 26.

Triosephosphate isomerase deficiency: new insights into an enigmatic disease.

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Institute of Enzymology, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1113 Budapest, Karolina u 29, Hungary.


The triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) functions at a metabolic cross-road ensuring the rapid equilibration of the triosephosphates produced by aldolase in glycolysis, which is interconnected to lipid metabolism, to glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle and to the pentose phosphate pathway. The enzyme is a stable homodimer, which is catalytically active only in its dimeric form. TPI deficiency is an autosomal recessive multisystem genetic disease coupled with hemolytic anemia and neurological disorder frequently leading to death in early childhood. Various genetic mutations of this enzyme have been identified; the mutations result in decrease in the catalytic activity and/or the dissociation of the dimers into inactive monomers. The impairment of TPI activity apparently does not affect the energy metabolism at system level; however, it results in accumulation of dihydroxyacetone phosphate followed by its chemical conversion into the toxic methylglyoxal, leading to the formation of advanced glycation end products. By now, the research on this disease seems to enter a progressive stage by adapting new model systems such as Drosophila, yeast strains and TPI-deficient mouse, which have complemented the results obtained by prediction and experiments with recombinant proteins or erythrocytes, and added novel data concerning the complexity of the intracellular behavior of mutant TPIs. This paper reviews the recent studies on the structural and catalytic changes caused by mutation and/or nitrotyrosination of the isomerase leading to the formation of an aggregation-prone protein, a characteristic of conformational disorders.

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