Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, apoptosis, and neurodegenerative diseases

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005;45:269-90. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.45.120403.095902.


Increasing evidence supports the notion that glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is a protein with multiple functions, including its surprising role in apoptosis. GAPDH is overexpressed and accumulates in the nucleus during apoptosis induced by a variety of insults in diverse cell types. Knockdown of GAPDH using an antisense strategy demonstrates its involvement in the apoptotic cascade in which GAPDH nuclear translocation appears essential. Knowledge concerning the mechanisms underlying GAPDH nuclear translocation and subsequent cell death is growing. Additional evidence suggests that GAPDH may be an intracellular sensor of oxidative stress during early apoptosis. Abnormal expression, nuclear accumulation, changes in physical properties, and loss of glycolytic activity of GAPDH have been found in cellular and transgenic models as well as postmortem tissues of several neurodegenerative diseases. The interaction of GAPDH with disease-related proteins as well as drugs used to treat these diseases suggests that it is a potential molecular target for drug development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (Phosphorylating) / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / enzymology*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (Phosphorylating)