The surge in fructose consumption is a major factor behind the rapid rise of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in modern society. Through flux and genetic analyses, we demonstrate that fructose is catabolized at a much higher rate than glucose, and triose kinase (TK) couples fructolysis with lipogenesis metabolically and transcriptionally. In the absence of TK, fructose oxidation is accelerated through the activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) and serine biosynthesis, accompanied by increased oxidative stress and fructose aversion. TK is also required by the endogenous fructolysis pathway to drive lipogenesis and hepatic triglyceride accumulation under high-fat diet and leptin-deficient conditions. Intriguingly, a nonsynonymous TK allele (rs2260655_A) segregated during human migration out of Africa behaves as TK null for its inability to rescue fructose toxicity and increase hepatic triglyceride accumulation. Therefore, we posit TK as a metabolic switch controlling the lipogenic potential of fructose and its dietary tolerance.
Keywords: ALDH; NAFLD; TKFC; dietary fructose intolerance; flux analysis; fructose; fructose toxicity; glyceraldehyde; hepatic steatosis; human migration route; reservoir model; rs2260655; triose kinase.
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