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Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase
Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) catalyses the conversion of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate as the name indicates. This is the 6th step of the breakdown of glucose (glycolysis), an important pathway of energy and carbon molecule supply located in the cytosol of eukaryotic cells. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate is converted to D-glycerate 1,3-bisphosphate in two coupled steps. The first is favourable and allows the second unfavourable step to occur.
Overall reaction catalysed
Compound C00118 at KEGG Pathway Database. Enzyme 220.127.116.11 at KEGG Pathway Database. Reaction R01063 at KEGG Pathway Database. Compound C00236 at KEGG Pathway Database.
Two-step conversion of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate
The first reaction is the oxidiation of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate at the carbon 1 position (the 4th carbon from glycolysis which is shown in the diagram), in which an aldehyde is converted into a carboxylic acid (ΔG°'=-50 kJ/mol (-12kcal/mol)). The energy released by this highly exergonic oxidation reaction drives the endergonic second reaction (ΔG°'=+50 kJ/mol (+12kcal/mol)), in which a molecule of inorganic phosphate is transferred to the GAP intermediate to form a product with high phosphoryl-transfer potential: 1,3-Biphosphoglycerate (1,3-BPG). This is an example of phosphorylation coupled to oxidation, and the overall reaction is somewhat endergonic (ΔG°'=+6.3 kJ/mol (+1.5)). Energy coupling here is made possible by GAPDH.
Mechanism of catalysis
GAPDH uses covalent catalysis and general base catalysis to decrease the very large and positive activation energy of the second step of this reaction. First, a cysteine residue in the active site of GAPDH attacks the carbonyl group of GAP, creating a hemithioacetal intermediate (covalent catalysis). Next, an adjacent, tightly bound molecule of NAD+ accepts a hydride ion from GAP, forming NADH; GAP is concomitantly oxidized to a thioester intermediate using a molecule of water. This thioester species is much higher in energy than the carboxylic acid species that would result in the absence of GAPDH (the carboxylic acid species is so low in energy that the energy barrier for the second step of the reaction (phosphorylation) would be too great, and the reaction therefore too slow, for a living organism). Donation of the hydride ion by the hemithioacetal is facilitated by its deprotonation by a histidine residue in the enzyme's active site (general base catalysis). Deprotonation encourages the reformation of the carbonyl group in the thioester intermediate and ejection of the hydride ion. NADH leaves the active site and is replaced by another molecule of NAD+, the positive charge of which stabilizes the negatively-charged carbonyl oxygen in the transition state of the next and ultimate step. Finally, a molecule of inorganic phosphate attacks the thioester and forms a tetrahedral intermediate, which then collapses to release 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate, and the thiol group of the enzyme's cysteine residue.
GAPDH is multifunctional like an increasing number of enzymes. In addition to catalysing the 6th step of glycolysis, recent evidence implicates GAPDH in other cellular processes. This came as a surprise to researchers but it makes evolutionary sense to re-use and adapt an existing proteins instead of evolving a novel protein from scratch.
Transcription and apoptosis
Zheng et al. discovered in 2003 that GAPDH can itself activate transcription. The OCA-S transcriptional coactivator complex contains GAPDH and lactate dehydrogenase, two protein previously only thought to be involved in metabolism. GAPDH moves between the cytosol and the nucleus and may thus link the metabolic state to gene transcription. 
In 2005, Hara et al. showed that GAPDH initiates apoptosis. This is not a third function, but can be seen as an activity mediated by GAPDH binding to DNA like in transcription activation, discussed above. The study demonstrated that GAPDH is S-nitrosylated by NO in response to cell stress, which causes it to bind to the protein Siah1, a ubiquitin ligase. The complex moves into the nucleus where Siah1 targets nuclear proteins for degradation, thus initiating controlled cell shutdown.  In subsequent study the group demonstrated that deprenyl, which has been used clinically to treat Parkinson's disease, strongly reduces the apoptotic action of GAPDH by preventing its S-nitrosylation and might thus be used as a drug. 
ER to Golgi transport
GAPDH also appears to be involved in the vesicle transport from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus which is part of shipping route for secreted proteins. It was found that GAPDH is recruited by rab2 to the vesicular-tubular clusters of the ER where it helps to form COP 1 vesicles. GAPDH is activated via tyrosine phosphorylation by Src. 
All steps of glycolysis take place in the cytosol and so does the reaction catalysed by GAPDH. Research in red blood cells indicates that GAPDH and several other glycolytic enzymes assemble in complexes on the inside of the cell membrane. The process appears to be regulated by phosphorylation and oxygenation.  Bringing several glycolytic enzymes close to each other is expected to greatly increased the overall speed of glucose breakdown.
Glycolysis text book references
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glyceraldehyde_3-phosphate_dehydrogenase". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|