Subcellular localization of human glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase is independent of its glycolytic function

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Jun 20;1622(1):50-6. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4165(03)00117-x.


Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) was considered a classical glycolytic protein involved exclusively in cytosolic energy production. However, recent evidence suggests that it is a multifunctional protein displaying diverse activities distinct from its conventional metabolic role. These new roles for GAPDH may be dependent on its subcellular localization, oligomeric state or on the proliferative state of the cell. GAPDH is encoded by a single gene without alternate splicing. The regulatory mechanisms are unknown through which an individual GAPDH molecule fulfills its non-glycolytic functions or is targeted to a specific intracellular localization. Accordingly, as a first step to elucidate these subcellular regulatory mechanisms, we examined the interrelationship between the intracellular expression of the GAPDH protein and its glycolytic function in normal human fetal and senior cells. GAPDH localization was determined by immunoblot analysis. Enzyme activity was quantitated by in vitro biochemical assay. We now report that the subcellular expression of GAPDH was independent of its classical glycolytic function. In particular, in both fetal and senior cells, considerable GADPH protein was present in intracellular domains characterized by significantly reduced catalysis. Gradient analysis indicated that this lower activity was not due to the dissociation of tetrameric GAPDH. These results suggest that human cells contain significant intracellular levels of enzymatically inactive GAPDH which is age-independent. The possibility is considered that the functional diversity of GAPDH may be mediated either by posttranslational alteration or by subcellular protein:protein and/or protein:nucleic acid interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / analysis*
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / chemistry
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Glycolysis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting


  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases