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Biol Chem. 2015 May;396(5):523-37. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2014-0295.

Cytosolic thiol switches regulating basic cellular functions: GAPDH as an information hub?


Cytosolic glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH, E.C. is present in all organisms and catalyzes the oxidation of triose phosphate during glycolysis. GAPDH is one of the most prominent cellular targets of oxidative modifications when reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are formed during metabolism and under stress conditions. GAPDH harbors a strictly conserved catalytic cysteine, which is susceptible to a variety of thiol modifications, including S-sulfenylation, S-glutathionylation, S-nitrosylation, and S-sulfhydration. Upon reversible oxidative thiol modification of GAPDH, glycolysis is inhibited leading to a diversion of metabolic flux through the pentose-phosphate cycle to increase NADPH production. Furthermore, oxidized GAPDH may adopt new functions in different cellular compartments including the nucleus, as well as in new microcompartments associated with the cytoskeleton, mitochondria and plasma membrane. This review focuses on the recently discovered mechanism underlying the eminent reactivity between GAPDH and hydrogen peroxide and the subsequent redox-dependent moonlighting functions discriminating between the induction either of adaptive responses and adjustment of metabolism or of cell death in yeast, plants, and mammals. In light of the summarized results, cytosolic GAPDH might function as a sensor for redox signals and an information hub to transduce these signals for appropriate responses.

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