Human triose-phosphate isomerase deficiency: a single amino acid substitution results in a thermolabile enzyme

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Oct;83(20):7903-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.83.20.7903.


Triose-phosphate isomerase (TPI; D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate ketol-isomerase, EC deficiency is a recessive disorder that results in hemolytic anemia and neuromuscular dysfunction. To determine the molecular basis of this disorder, a TPI allele from two unrelated patients homozygous for TPI deficiency was compared with an allele from a normal individual. Each disease-associated sequence harbors a G X C----C X G transversion in the codon for amino acid-104 and specifies a structurally altered protein in which a glutamate residue is replaced by an aspartate residue. The importance of glutamate-104 to enzyme structure and function is implicated by its conservation in the TPI protein of all species that have been characterized to date. The glutamate-to-aspartate substitution results in a thermolabile enzyme as demonstrated by assays of TPI activity in cultured fibroblasts of each patient and cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells that were stably transformed with the mutant alleles. Although this substitution conserves the overall charge of amino acid-104, the x-ray crystal structure of chicken TPI indicates that the loss of a side-chain methylene group (-CH2CH2COO- ---- -CH2COO-) is sufficient to disrupt the counterbalancing of charges that normally exists within a hydrophobic pocket of the native enzyme.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Carbohydrate Epimerases / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glutamates
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Triose-Phosphate Isomerase / deficiency
  • Triose-Phosphate Isomerase / genetics*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Glutamates
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Carbohydrate Epimerases
  • Triose-Phosphate Isomerase