Thursday, April 28, 2011

TIM--you need it, and it's just that AWESOME!

Figure 1. Glycolysis pathway highlighting TIM role (Figure 14-2 from Leighner)
     Triose phosphate isomerase or TIM is the enzyme in the transitional step from the preparatory phase to the payoff phase in glycolysis. It isomerizes dehydroxyacetone phosphate to D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Without this enzyme, only one pyruvate would be generated per glucose molecule instead of two.
Figure 2. Isomerization reaction by TIM from SigmaAldrich
     TIM has been described as a nearly perfect enzyme because of its incredible turnover rate. It is so fast that it is only limited by the rate of diffusion of the substrates. It is made up of two homodimers and the protein is only active when the two monomers are together. The active site for the enzyme is located at the interface of the two monomers, but only the residues on one of the monomers is part of the active site. The buried active site stabilizes an enediolate intermediate.
Figure 3. Enediolate and sulfate bound to Triose phosphate isomerase (3PY2) 

     Lack-of-function mutations (most commonly E104D) cause a serious, progressive, neurological disease creatively entitled triose phosphate isomerase deficiency...yep, creative. The most common characteristic of this disease is hemolytic anemia--the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells.
     Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, also has this enzyme. However, it has an extra 22-amino acid fragment that is unique. It has been found to send responder signals to glycosomes: a subset of peroxisomes. This same TIM protein with the extra 22-amino acid fragment was put into a similar organism and it did not target the glycosomes. This presents a potential drug target for African sleeping sickness. It is, quite surprisingly, found in an enzyme shared by most organisms.


Galland, N., de Walque, S., Voncken, F.G., Verlinde, C.L., Michels, P.A. “An internal sequence targets Trypanosoma brucei triosephosphate isomerase to glycosomes” Mol Biochem Parasitol 171.1 May (2010): 45-49. Medline. Wed. 28 Apr. 2011.

Orosz, F., Oláh, J. and Ovádi, J. (2006), Triosephosphate isomerase deficiency: Facts and doubts. IUBMB Life, 58: 703–715. doi: 10.1080/15216540601115960

Wierenga, R K., E G. Kapetaniou, and R Venkatesan. "Triosephosphate isomerase: a highly evolved biocatalyst." Cell Mol Life Sci67.237 Aug. (2010): 3961-82. Medline. Web. 28 Apr. 2011.


  1. Great job Stacey! You succinctly put all of the important details in four short easy to read paragraphs, and that's impressive. The only advice I would give is to possibly increase the font size just a touch to make it a little easier to read and maybe start with something other than a detailed figure such as a picture of TIM.

  2. Looks great! You included a lot of interesting information that keeps the reader going. It was also good that you highlighted your reaction in the first picture, but I agree with Josh that maybe you could not put it as the very first thing. Also another picture of the structure might be nice.