Aldehyde-mediated inhibition of asparagine biosynthesis has implications for diabetes and alcoholism
John T., Saffoon N., Walsby-Tickle J., Hester SS., Dingler FA., Millington CL., McCullagh JSO., Patel KJ., Hopkinson RJ., Schofield CJ.
Patients with alcoholism and type 2 diabetes manifest altered metabolism, including elevated aldehyde levels and unusually low asparagine levels. We show that asparagine synthetase B (ASNS), the only human asparagine-forming enzyme, is inhibited by disease-relevant reactive aldehydes, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Cellular studies show non-cytotoxic amounts of reactive aldehydes induce a decrease in asparagine levels. Biochemical analyses reveal inhibition results from reaction of the aldehydes with the catalytically important N-terminal cysteine of ASNS. The combined cellular and biochemical results suggest a possible mechanism underlying the low asparagine levels in alcoholism and diabetes. The results will stimulate research on the biological consequences of the reactions of aldehydes with nucleophilic residues.