The enzymes of the oxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway as targets of reactive species: consequences for NADPH production

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The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) is a key metabolic pathway. The oxidative phase of this process involves three reactions catalyzed by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), 6-phosphogluconolactonase (6PGL) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGDH) enzymes. The first and third steps (catalyzed by G6PDH and 6PGDH, respectively) are responsible for generating reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAPDH), a key cofactor for maintaining the reducing power of cells and detoxification of both endogenous and exogenous oxidants and electrophiles. Despite the importance of these enzymes, little attention has been paid to the fact that these proteins are targets of oxidants. In response to oxidative stimuli metabolic pathways are modulated, with the PPP often up-regulated in order to enhance or maintain the reductive capacity of cells. Under such circumstances, oxidation and inactivation of the PPP enzymes could be detrimental. Damage to the PPP enzymes may result in a downward spiral, as depending on the extent and sites of modification, these alterations may result in a loss of enzymatic activity and therefore increased oxidative damage due to NADPH depletion. In recent years, it has become evident that the three enzymes of the oxidative phase of the PPP have different susceptibilities to inactivation on exposure to different oxidants. In this review, we discuss existing knowledge on the role that these enzymes play in the metabolism of cells, and their susceptibility to oxidation and inactivation with special emphasis on NADPH production. Perspectives on achieving a better understanding of the molecular basis of the oxidation these enzymes within cellular environments are given.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2173–2187
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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