The pentose phosphate pathway has two metabolic functions: (1) generation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (reduced NADPH), for reductive biosynthesis, and (2) formation of ribose, which is an essential component of ATP, DNA, and RNA. Transaldolase links the pentose phosphate pathway to glycolysis. In patients with deficiency of transaldolase, there's an accumulation of erythritol (from erythrose 4-phosphate), D-arabitol, and ribitol.
The deletion in 3 base pairs in the TALDO1 gene results in the absence of serine at position 171 of the transaldolase protein, which is part of a highly conserved region, suggesting that the mutation causes the transaldolase deficiency that is found in erythrocytes and lymphoblasts. The deletion of this amino acid can lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatosplenomegaly (enlarged spleen and liver) during early infancy. Transaldolase is also a target of autoimmunity in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Active site of the transaldolase enzyme highlighting the key amino acid residues (Asp-27, Glu-106, and Lys-142) involved in catalysis.
Transaldolase is a single domain composed of 337 amino acids. The core structure is an α/β barrel, similar to other class I aldolases, made up of eight parallel β-sheets and seven α-helices. There are also seven additional α-helices that are not part of the barrel. Hydrophobic amino acids are located between the β-sheets in the barrel and the surrounding α-helices to contribute to packing, such as the area containing Leu-168, Phe-170, Phe-189, Gly-311, and Phe-315. In the crystal, human transaldolase forms a dimer, with the two subunits connected by 18 residues in each subunit. See mechanism to the left for details.
The active site, located in the center of the barrel, contains three key residues: lysine-142, glutamate-106, and aspartate-27. The lysine holds the sugar in place while the glutamate and aspartate act as proton donors and acceptors.
^Molecular graphics images were produced using the UCSF Chimera package from the Resource for Biocomputing, Visualization, and Informatics at the University of California, San Francisco. Pettersen EF, Goddard TD, Huang CC, Couch GS, Greenblatt DM, Meng EC, Ferrin TE (October 2004). "UCSF Chimera–a visualization system for exploratory research and analysis". J Comput Chem25 (13): 1605–12. doi:10.1002/jcc.20084. PMID15264254.
^Banki K, Eddy RL, Shows TB, Halladay DL, Bullrich F, Croce CM, Jurecic V, Baldini A, Perl A (October 1997). "The human transaldolase gene (TALDO1) is located on chromosome 11 at p15.4-p15.5". Genomics45 (1): 233–8. doi:10.1006/geno.1997.4932. PMID9339383.