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Ageing Res Rev. 2011 Sep;10(4):498-502. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 May 30.

Energy metabolism and ageing regulation: metabolically driven deamidation of triosephosphate isomerase may contribute to proteostatic dysfunction.

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Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing, School of Health and Life Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Research carried out up to 3 decades ago by Gracy and co-workers revealed that the activity of the glycolytic enzyme triosephosphate isomerase (TPI), which converts dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate (G3P), gradually declines whilst carrying out its catalytic function, primarily due to deamidation of certain asparagine residues. It is suggested here that excessive or continuous glycolysis increases TPI deamidation and thereby lowers TPI activity and causes accumulation of its substrate, DHAP, which in turn decomposes into methylglyoxal (MG), a well-recognised reactive bicarbonyl whose actions in cells and tissues, as well as at the whole organism level, mimic much age-relate dysfunction. The proposal helps to explain why suppression of glycolysis by caloric restriction, fasting and increased aerobic activity also suppresses generation of altered proteins which characterise the aged phenotype. It is proposed that these effects on TPI activity, though seemingly neglected in biogerontological contexts, reveal a mechanistic link between energy metabolism and age-related proteostatic dysfunction.

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