Transaldolase (TAL) is an enzyme in the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) that generates NADPH for protection against oxidative stress. While deficiency of other PPP enzymes, such as transketolase (TKT), are incompatible with mammalian cell survival, mice lacking TAL are viable and develop progressive liver disease attributed to oxidative stress. Mice with homozygous or heterozygous TAL deficiency are predisposed to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver failure. Both mice and humans with complete TAL deficiency accumulate sedoheptulose 7-phosphate (S7P). Previous human studies relied on screening patients with S7P accumulation, thus excluding potentially pathogenic haploinsufficiency. Of note, mice with TAL haploinsufficiency are also predisposed to HCC and APAP-induced liver failure which are preventable with oral N-acetylcysteine (NAC) administration. Based on TALDO1 DNA sequencing, we detected functional TAL deficiency due to novel, heterozygous variations in two of 94 healthy adults and four of 27 subjects with APAP-induced liver failure (P =.022). The functional consequences of these variations were individually validated by site-directed mutagenesis of normal cDNA and loss of activity by recombinant enzyme. All four patients with TAL haplo-insufficiency with APAP-induced liver failure were successfully treated with NAC. We also document two novel variations in two of 15 children with previously unexplained liver cirrhosis. Examination of the National Center for Biotechnology Information databases revealed 274 coding region variations have been documented in 1125 TALDO1 sequences relative to 25 variations in 2870 TKT sequences (P <.0001). These findings suggest an unexpected prevalence and variety of genetic changes in human TALDO1 with relevance for liver injury that may be preventable by treatment with NAC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- liver disease
- transaldolase deficiency