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1.  Characterization of the East Asian Variant of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase-2 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2009;285(2):943-952.
The East Asian variant of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) exhibits significantly reduced dehydrogenase, esterase, and nitroglycerin (GTN) denitrating activities. The small molecule Alda-1 was reported to partly restore low acetaldehyde dehydrogenase activity of this variant. In the present study we compared the wild type enzyme (ALDH2*1) with the Asian variant (ALDH2*2) regarding GTN bioactivation and the effects of Alda-1. Alda-1 increased acetaldehyde oxidation by ALDH2*1 and ALDH2*2 approximately 1.5- and 6-fold, respectively, and stimulated the esterase activities of both enzymes to similar extent as the coenzyme NAD. The effect of NAD was biphasic with pronounced inhibition occurring at ≥5 mm. In the presence of 1 mm NAD, Alda-1 stimulated ALDH2*2-catalyzed ester hydrolysis 73-fold, whereas the NAD-stimulated activity of ALDH2*1 was inhibited because of 20-fold increased inhibitory potency of NAD in the presence of the drug. Although ALDH2*2 exhibited 7-fold lower GTN denitrating activity and GTN affinity than ALDH2*1, the rate of nitric oxide formation was only reduced 2-fold, and soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) activation was more pronounced than with wild type ALDH2 at saturating GTN. Alda-1 caused slight inhibition of GTN denitration and did not increase GTN-induced sGC activation in the presence of either variant. The present results indicate that Alda-1 stimulates established ALDH2 activities by improving NAD binding but does not improve the GTN binding affinity of the Asian variant. In addition, our data revealed an unexpected discrepancy between GTN reductase activity and sGC activation, suggesting that GTN denitration and bioactivation may reflect independent pathways of ALDH2-catalyzed GTN biotransformation.
PMCID: PMC2801295  PMID: 19906643
Cyclic GMP (cGMP); Enzyme Catalysis; Nitric Oxide; Oxidase; Superoxide Dismutase (SOD); Superoxide Ion; Bioactivation; Nitroglycerin
2.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 regulates nociception in rodent models of acute inflammatory pain 
Science translational medicine  2014;6(251):251ra118.
Exogenous aldehydes can cause pain in animal models, suggesting that aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which metabolizes many aldehydes, may regulate nociception. To test this hypothesis, we generated a knock-in mouse with an inactivating point mutation in ALDH2 (ALDH2*2), which is also present in human ALDH2 of ~540 million East Asians. The ALDH2*1/*2 heterozygotic mice exhibited a larger response to painful stimuli than their wild-type littermates, and this heightened nociception was inhibited by an ALDH2-selective activator (Alda-1). No effect on inflammation per se was observed. Using a rat model, we then showed that nociception tightly correlated with ALDH activity (R2=0.90) and that reduced nociception was associated with less early growth response protein 1 (EGR1) in the spinal cord and less reactive aldehyde accumulation at the insult site (including acetaldehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal). Further, acetaldehyde and formalin-induced nociceptive behavior was greater in the ALDH2*1/*2 mice than wild-type mice. Finally, Alda-1 treatment was also beneficial when given even after the inflammatory agent was administered. Our data in rodent models suggest that the mitochondrial enzyme ALDH2 regulates nociception and could serve as a molecular target for pain control, with ALDH2 activators, such as Alda-1, as potential non-narcotic cardiac-safe analgesics. Furthermore, our results suggest a possible genetic basis for East Asians’ apparent lower pain tolerance.
PMCID: PMC4234033  PMID: 25163478
3.  Activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) confers cardioprotection in protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) knockout mice 
Acute administration of ethanol can reduce cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury. Previous studies demonstrated that the acute cytoprotective effect of ethanol on the myocardium is mediated by protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε). We recently identified aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as an PKCε substrate, whose activation is necessary and sufficient to confer cardioprotection in vivo. ALDH2 metabolizes cytotoxic reactive aldehydes, such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE), which accumulate during cardiac ischemia/reperfusion. Here, we used a combination of PKCε knockout mice and a direct activator of ALDH2, Alda-44, to further investigate the interplay between PKCε and ALDH2 in cardioprotection. We report that ethanol preconditioning requires PKCε, whereas direct activation of ALDH2 reduces infarct size in both wild type and PKCε knockout hearts. Our data suggest that ALDH2 is downstream of PKCε in ethanol preconditioning and that direct activation of ALDH2 can circumvent the requirement of PKCε to induce cytoprotection. We also report that in addition to ALDH2 activation, Alda-44 prevents 4-HNE induced inactivation of ALDH2 by reducing the formation of 4-HNE-ALDH2 protein adducts. Thus, Alda-44 promotes metabolism of cytotoxic reactive aldehydes that accumulate in ischemic myocardium. Taken together, our findings suggest that direct activation of ALDH2 may represent a method of harnessing the cardioprotective effect of ethanol without the side effects associated with alcohol consumption.
PMCID: PMC2837767  PMID: 19913552
4.  Alcohol Intake and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review Implementing a Mendelian Randomization Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e52.
Alcohol has been reported to be a common and modifiable risk factor for hypertension. However, observational studies are subject to confounding by other behavioural and sociodemographic factors, while clinical trials are difficult to implement and have limited follow-up time. Mendelian randomization can provide robust evidence on the nature of this association by use of a common polymorphism in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as a surrogate for measuring alcohol consumption. ALDH2 encodes a major enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism. Individuals homozygous for the null variant (*2*2) experience adverse symptoms when drinking alcohol and consequently drink considerably less alcohol than wild-type homozygotes (*1*1) or heterozygotes. We hypothesise that this polymorphism may influence the risk of hypertension by affecting alcohol drinking behaviour.
Methods and Findings
We carried out fixed effect meta-analyses of the ALDH2 genotype with blood pressure (five studies, n = 7,658) and hypertension (three studies, n = 4,219) using studies identified via systematic review. In males, we obtained an overall odds ratio of 2.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.66–3.55, p = 4.8 × 10−6) for hypertension comparing *1*1 with *2*2 homozygotes and an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI 1.17–2.52, p = 0.006) comparing heterozygotes (surrogate for moderate drinkers) with *2*2 homozygotes. Systolic blood pressure was 7.44 mmHg (95% CI 5.39–9.49, p = 1.1 × 10−12) greater among *1*1 than among *2*2 homozygotes, and 4.24 mmHg (95% CI 2.18–6.31, p = 0.00005) greater among heterozygotes than among *2*2 homozygotes.
These findings support the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Using a mendelian randomization approach Sarah Lewis and colleagues find strong support for the hypothesis that alcohol intake has a marked effect on blood pressure and the risk of hypertension.
Editors' Summary
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common medical condition that affects nearly a third of US and UK adults. Hypertension has no symptoms but can lead to heart attacks or strokes. It is diagnosed by measuring blood pressure—the force that blood moving around the body exerts on the inside of large blood vessels. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is pumping out blood (systolic pressure) and lowest when it is filling up with blood (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic pressure of less than 85 mmHg (a blood pressure of 130/85). A reading of more than 140/90 indicates hypertension. Many factors affect blood pressure, but overweight people and individuals who eat too much salty or fatty foods are at high risk of developing hypertension. Mild hypertension can often be corrected by lifestyle changes, but many people also take antihypertensive drugs to reduce their blood pressure.
Why Was This Study Done?
Another modifiable lifestyle factor thought to affect blood pressure is alcohol intake. Observational studies that ask people about their drinking habits and measure their blood pressure suggest that alcohol intake correlates with blood pressure, but they cannot prove a causal link because of “confounding”—other risk factors associated with alcohol drinking, such as diet, might also affect the study participant's blood pressures. A trial that randomly assigns people to different alcohol intakes could provide this proof of causality, but such a trial is impractical. In this study, therefore, the researchers have used “Mendelian randomization” to investigate whether alcohol intake affects blood pressure. An inactive variant of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2; the enzyme that removes alcohol from the body) has been identified. People who inherit the variant form of this gene from both parents have an ALDH2 *2*2 genotype (genetic makeup) and become flushed and nauseated after drinking. Consequently, they drink less than people with a *1*2 genotype and much less than those with a *1*1 genotype. Because inheritance of these genetic variants does not affect lifestyle factors other than alcohol intake, an association between ALDH2 genotypes and blood pressure would indicate that alcohol intake has an effect on blood pressure without any confounding.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified ten published studies (mainly done in Japan where the ALDH2 gene variant is common) on associations between ALDH2 genotype and blood pressure or hypertension using a detailed search protocol (a “systematic review”). A meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of independent studies) of the studies that had investigated the association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension showed that men with the *1*1 genotype (highest alcohol intake) and those with the *1*2 genotype (intermediate alcohol intake) were 2.42 and 1.72 times more likely, respectively, to have hypertension than those with the *2*2 genotype (lowest alcohol intake). There was no association between ALDH2 genotype and hypertension among the women in these studies because they drank very little. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed a similar relationship to ALDH2 genotype in a second meta-analysis of relevant studies. Finally, the researchers estimated that for men the lifetime effect of drinking 1 g of alcohol a day (one unit of alcohol contains 8 g of alcohol in the UK and 14 g in the US; recommended daily limits in these countries are 3–4 and 1–2 units, respectively) would be an increase in systolic blood pressure of 0.24 mmHg.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings support the suggestion that alcohol has a marked effect on blood pressure and hypertension. Consequently, some cases of hypertension could be prevented by encouraging people to reduce their daily alcohol intake. Although the Mendelian randomization approach avoids most of the confounding intrinsic to observational studies, it is possible that a gene near ALDH2 that has no effect on alcohol intake affects blood pressure, since genes are often inherited in blocks. Alternatively, ALDH2 could affect blood pressure independent of alcohol intake. The possibility that ALDH2 could effect blood pressure independently of alcohol is intake made unlikely by the fact that no effect of genotype on blood pressure is seen among women who drink very little. Additional large-scale studies are needed to address these possibilities, to confirm the current finding in more people, and to improve the estimates of the effect that alcohol intake has on blood pressure.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has a page on hypertension (in English and Spanish)
The American Heart Association provides information for patients and health professionals about hypertension
The UK Blood Pressure Association provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of hypertension, including information about alcohol affects blood pressure
The Explore@Bristol science center (a UK charity) provides an alcohol unit calculator and information on the effects of alcohol
The International Center for Alcohol Policies provides drinking guidelines for countries around the world
PMCID: PMC2265305  PMID: 18318597
5.  Neurodegeneration and Motor Dysfunction in Mice Lacking Cytosolic and Mitochondrial Aldehyde Dehydrogenases: Implications for Parkinson's Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31522.
Previous studies have reported elevated levels of biogenic aldehydes in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). In the brain, aldehydes are primarily detoxified by aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH). Reduced ALDH1 expression in surviving midbrain dopamine neurons has been reported in brains of patients who died with PD. In addition, impaired complex I activity, which is well documented in PD, reduces the availability of the NAD+ co-factor required by multiple ALDH isoforms to catalyze the removal of biogenic aldehydes. We hypothesized that chronically decreased function of multiple aldehyde dehydrogenases consequent to exposure to environmental toxins and/or reduced ALDH expression, plays an important role in the pathophysiology of PD. To address this hypothesis, we generated mice null for Aldh1a1 and Aldh2, the two isoforms known to be expressed in substantia nigra dopamine neurons. Aldh1a1−/−×Aldh2−/− mice exhibited age-dependent deficits in motor performance assessed by gait analysis and by performance on an accelerating rotarod. Intraperitoneal administration of L-DOPA plus benserazide alleviated the deficits in motor performance. We observed a significant loss of neurons immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the substantia nigra and a reduction of dopamine and metabolites in the striatum of Aldh1a1−/−×Aldh2−/− mice. We also observed significant increases in biogenic aldehydes reported to be neurotoxic, including 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and the aldehyde intermediate of dopamine metabolism, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL). These results support the hypothesis that impaired detoxification of biogenic aldehydes may be important in the pathophysiology of PD and suggest that Aldh1a1−/−×Aldh2−/− mice may be a useful animal model of PD.
PMCID: PMC3284575  PMID: 22384032
6.  Murine hepatic aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1 is a major contributor to oxidation of aldehydes formed by lipid peroxidation 
Chemico-biological interactions  2011;191(0):278-287.
Reactive lipid aldehydes are implicated in the pathogenesis of various oxidative stress-mediated diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and cataract. In the present study, we sought to define which hepatic Aldh isoform plays a major role in detoxification of lipid-derived aldehydes, such as acrolein and HNE by enzyme kinetic and gene expression studies. The catalytic efficiencies for metabolism of acrolein by Aldh1a1 was comparable to that of Aldh3a1 (Vmax/Km = 23). However, Aldh1a1 exhibits far higher affinity for acrolein (Km = 23.2 μM) compared to Aldh3a1 (Km = 464 μM). Aldh1a1 displays a 3-fold higher catalytic efficiency for HNE than Aldh3a1 (218 vs 69 ml/min/mg). The endogenous Aldh1a1 gene was highly expressed in mouse liver and a liver-derived cell line (Hepa-1c1c7) compared to Aldh2, Aldh1b1 and Aldh3a1. Aldh1a1 mRNA levels was 34-fold and 73-fold higher than Aldh2 in mouse liver and Hepa-1c1c7 cells respectively. Aldh3a1 gene was absent in mouse liver, but moderately expressed in Hepa-1c1c7 cells compared to Aldh1a1. We demonstrated that knockdown of Aldh1a1 expression by siRNA caused Hepa-1c1c7 cells to be more sensitive to acrolein-induced cell death and resulted in increased accumulation of acrolein-protein adducts and caspase 3 activation. These results indicate that Aldh1a1 plays a major role in cellular defense against oxidative damage induced by reactive lipid aldehydes in mouse liver. We also noted that hepatic Aldh1a1 mRNA levels were significantly increased (≈ 3 fold) in acrolein-fed mice compared to control. In addition, hepatic cytosolic ALDH activity was induced by acrolein when 1 mM NAD+ was used as cofactor, suggesting an Aldh1a1-protective mechanism against acrolein toxicity in mice liver. Thus, mechanisms to induce Aldh1a1 gene expression may provide a useful rationale for therapeutic protection against oxidative stress-induced pathologies.
PMCID: PMC4409133  PMID: 21256123
aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1; aldehydes; 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal; acrolein; toxicity
7.  ALDH2 attenuates Dox-induced cardiotoxicity by inhibiting cardiac apoptosis and oxidative stress 
The anthracycline chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (DOX) is cardiotoxic. This study aimed to explore the effect of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), a detoxifying protein, on DOX-induced cardiotoxicity and unveil the underlying mechanisms. BALB/c mice were randomly divided in four groups: control group (no treatment), DOX group (DOX administration for myocardial damage induction), DOX + Daidzin group (DOX administration + Daidzin, an ALDH2 antagonist) and DOX + Alda-1 group (DOX administration + Alda-1, an ALDH2 agonist). Then, survival, haemodynamic parameters, expression of pro- and anti-apoptosis markers, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and 4-Hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) levels, expression and localization of NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) and its cytoplasmic subunit p47PHOX, and ALDH2 expression and activity were assessed. Mortality rates of 0, 35, 5, and 70% were obtained in the control, DOX, DOX + Alda-1, and DOX + Daidzin groups, respectively, at the ninth weekend. Compared with control animals, DOX treatment resulted in significantly reduced left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP) and ± dp/dt, and overtly increased left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP); increased Bax expression and caspase-3/7 activity, and reduced Bcl-2 expression in the myocardium; increased ROS (about 2 fold) and 4-HNE adduct (3 fold) levels in the myocardium; increased NOX2 protein expression and membrane translocation of P47PHOX. These effects were aggravated in the DOX + Daidzin group, DOX + Alda-1 treated animals showed partial or complete alleviation. Finally, Daidzin further reduced the DOX-repressed ALDH2 activity, which was partially rescued by Alda-1. These results indicated that ALDH2 attenuates DOX-induced cardiotoxicity by inhibiting oxidative stress, NOX2 expression and activity, and reducing myocardial apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4509162  PMID: 26221217
DOX; ALDH2; myocardial apoptosis; oxidative stress; NOX2
8.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 in cardiac protection: a new therapeutic target? 
Trends in cardiovascular medicine  2009;19(5):158-164.
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is emerging as a key enzyme involved in cytoprotection in the heart. ALDH2 mediates both the detoxification of reactive aldehydes such as acetaldehyde and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) and the bioactivation of nitroglycerin (GTN) to nitric oxide (NO). In addition, chronic nitrate treatment results in ALDH2 inhibition and contributes to nitrate tolerance. Our lab recently identified ALDH2 to be a key mediator of endogenous cytoprotection. We reported that ALDH2 is phosphorylated and activated by the survival kinase protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) and found a strong inverse correlation between ALDH2 activity and infarct size. We also identified a small molecule ALDH2 activator (Alda-1) which reduces myocardial infarct size induced by ischemia/reperfusion in vivo. In this review, we discuss evidence that ALDH2 is a key mediator of endogenous survival signaling in the heart, suggest possible cardioprotective mechanisms mediated by ALDH2, and discuss potential clinical implications of these findings.
PMCID: PMC2856486  PMID: 20005475
9.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 activation in heart failure restores mitochondrial function and improves ventricular function and remodelling 
Cardiovascular Research  2014;103(4):498-508.
We previously demonstrated that pharmacological activation of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) protects the heart against acute ischaemia/reperfusion injury. Here, we determined the benefits of chronic activation of ALDH2 on the progression of heart failure (HF) using a post-myocardial infarction model.
Methods and results
We showed that a 6-week treatment of myocardial infarction-induced HF rats with a selective ALDH2 activator (Alda-1), starting 4 weeks after myocardial infarction at a time when ventricular remodelling and cardiac dysfunction were present, improved cardiomyocyte shortening, cardiac function, left ventricular compliance and diastolic function under basal conditions, and after isoproterenol stimulation. Importantly, sustained Alda-1 treatment showed no toxicity and promoted a cardiac anti-remodelling effect by suppressing myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis. Moreover, accumulation of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE)-protein adducts and protein carbonyls seen in HF was not observed in Alda-1-treated rats, suggesting that increasing the activity of ALDH2 contributes to the reduction of aldehydic load in failing hearts. ALDH2 activation was associated with improved mitochondrial function, including elevated mitochondrial respiratory control ratios and reduced H2O2 release. Importantly, selective ALDH2 activation decreased mitochondrial Ca2+-induced permeability transition and cytochrome c release in failing hearts. Further supporting a mitochondrial mechanism for ALDH2, Alda-1 treatment preserved mitochondrial function upon in vitro aldehydic load.
Selective activation of mitochondrial ALDH2 is sufficient to improve the HF outcome by reducing the toxic effects of aldehydic overload on mitochondrial bioenergetics and reactive oxygen species generation, suggesting that ALDH2 activators, such as Alda-1, have a potential therapeutic value for treating HF patients.
PMCID: PMC4155470  PMID: 24817685
Oxidant stress; Heart disease; Mitochondria; Pharmacological therapy; Bioenergetics
10.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 deficiency ameliorates alcoholic fatty liver but worsens liver inflammation and fibrosis in mice 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2014;60(1):146-157.
Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) is the major enzyme that metabolizes acetaldehyde produced from alcohol metabolism. Approximately 40~50% of East Asians carry an inactive ALDH2 gene and exhibit acetaldehyde accumulation after alcohol consumption. However, the role of ALDH2 deficiency in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury remains obscure. In the present study, wild-type and ALDH2−/− mice were subjected to ethanol feeding and/or carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) treatment, and liver injury was assessed. Compared with wild-type mice, ethanol-fed ALDH2−/− mice had higher levels of malondialdehyde-acetaldehyde (MAA) adduct and greater hepatic inflammation, with higher hepatic IL-6 expression but surprisingly lower levels of steatosis and serum ALT. Higher IL-6 levels were also detected in ethanol-treated precision-cut-liver-slices from ALDH2−/− mice and in Kupffer cells isolated from ethanol-fed ALDH2−/− mice than those levels in wild-type mice. In vitro incubation with MAA enhanced the LPS-mediated stimulation of IL-6 production in Kupffer cells. In agreement with these findings, hepatic activation of the major IL-6 downstream signaling molecule signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) was higher in ethanol-fed ALDH2−/− mice than in wild-type mice. An additional deletion of hepatic STAT3 increased steatosis and hepatocellular damage in ALDH2−/− mice. Finally, ethanol-fed ALDH2−/− mice were more prone to CCl4-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis than ethanol-fed wild-type mice.
ALDH2−/− mice are resistant to ethanol-induced steatosis but prone to inflammation and fibrosis via MAA-mediated paracrine activation of IL-6 in Kupffer cells. These findings suggest that alcohol, via acetaldehyde and its associated adducts, stimulates hepatic inflammation and fibrosis independent from causing hepatocyte death, and that ALDH2-deficient individuals may be resistant to steatosis and blood ALT elevation, but are prone to liver inflammation and fibrosis following alcohol consumption.
PMCID: PMC4077916  PMID: 24492981
Acetaldehyde; ALDH2; ethanol; fibrosis; inflammation; IL-6; STAT3
11.  Mitochondrial Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Activation by Alda‐1 Inhibits Atherosclerosis and Attenuates Hepatic Steatosis in Apolipoprotein E‐Knockout Mice 
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been shown to play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), an enzyme responsible for the detoxification of reactive aldehydes, is considered to exert protective function in mitochondria. We investigated the influence of Alda‐1, an activator of ALDH2, on atherogenesis and on the liver steatosis in apolipoprotein E knockout (apoE−/−) mice.
Methods and Results
Alda‐1 caused decrease of atherosclerotic lesions approximately 25% as estimated by “en face” and “cross‐section” methods without influence on plasma lipid profile, atherosclerosis‐related markers of inflammation, and macrophage and smooth muscle content in the plaques. Plaque nitrotyrosine was not changed upon Alda‐1 treatment, and there were no changes in aortic mRNA levels of factors involved in antioxidative defense, regulation of apoptosis, mitogenesis, and autophagy. Hematoxylin/eosin staining showed decrease of steatotic changes in liver of Alda‐1‐treated apoE−/− mice. Alda‐1 attenuated formation of 4‐hydroxy‐2‐nonenal (4‐HNE) protein adducts and decreased triglyceride content in liver tissue. Two‐dimensional electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry identified 20 differentially expressed mitochondrial proteins upon Alda‐1 treatment in liver of apoE−/− mice, mostly proteins related to metabolism and oxidative stress. The most up‐regulated were the proteins that participated in beta oxidation of fatty acids.
Collectively, Alda‐1 inhibited atherosclerosis and attenuated NAFLD in apoE−/− mice. The pattern of changes suggests a beneficial effect of Alda‐1 in NAFLD; however, the exact liver functional consequences of the revealed alterations as well as the mechanism(s) of antiatherosclerotic Alda‐1 action require further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4338726  PMID: 25392542
Alda‐1; ALDH2; atherosclerosis; mitochondria; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
12.  Molecular Cloning, Characterization, and Potential Roles of Cytosolic and Mitochondrial Aldehyde Dehydrogenases in Ethanol Metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae† 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(4):822-830.
The full-length DNAs for two Saccharomyces cerevisiae aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) genes were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. A 2,744-bp DNA fragment contained an open reading frame encoding cytosolic ALDH1, with 500 amino acids, which was located on chromosome XVI. A 2,661-bp DNA fragment contained an open reading frame encoding mitochondrial ALDH5, with 519 amino acids, of which the N-terminal 23 amino acids were identified as the putative leader sequence. The ALDH5 gene was located on chromosome V. The commercial ALDH (designated ALDH2) was partially sequenced and appears to be a mitochondrial enzyme encoded by a gene located on chromosome XV. The recombinant ALDH1 enzyme was found to be essentially NADP dependent, while the ALDH5 enzyme could utilize either NADP or NAD as a cofactor. The activity of ALDH1 was stimulated two- to fourfold by divalent cations but was unaffected by K+ ions. In contrast, the activity of ALDH5 increased in the presence of K+ ions: 15-fold with NADP and 40-fold with NAD, respectively. Activity staining of isoelectric focusing gels showed that cytosolic ALDH1 contributed 30 to 70% of the overall activity, depending on the cofactor used, while mitochondrial ALDH2 contributed the rest. Neither ALDH5 nor the other ALDH-like proteins identified from the genomic sequence contributed to the in vitro oxidation of acetaldehyde. To evaluate the physiological roles of these three ALDH isoenzymes, the genes encoding cytosolic ALDH1 and mitochondrial ALDH2 and ALDH5 were disrupted in the genome of strain TWY397 separately or simultaneously. The growth of single-disruption Δald1 and Δald2 strains on ethanol was marginally slower than that of the parent strain. The Δald1 Δald2 double-disruption strain failed to grow on glucose alone, but growth was restored by the addition of acetate, indicating that both ALDHs might catalyze the oxidation of acetaldehyde produced during fermentation. The double-disruption strain grew very slowly on ethanol. The role of mitochondrial ALDH5 in acetaldehyde metabolism has not been defined but appears to be unimportant.
PMCID: PMC106960  PMID: 9473035
13.  Post-translational modifications of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase and biomedical implications 
Journal of proteomics  2011;74(12):2691-2702.
Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) represent large family members of NAD(P)+-dependent dehydrogenases responsible for the irreversible metabolism of many endogenous and exogenous aldehydes to the corresponding acids. Among 19 ALDH isozymes, mitochondrial ALDH2 is a low Km enzyme responsible for the metabolism of acetaldehyde and lipid peroxides such as malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxynonenal, both of which are highly reactive and toxic. Consequently, inhibition of ALDH2 would lead to elevated levels of acetaldehyde and other reactive lipid peroxides following ethanol intake and/or exposure to toxic chemicals. In addition, many East Asian people with a dominant negative mutation in ALDH2 gene possess a decreased ALDH2 activity with increased risks for various types of cancer, myocardial infarct, alcoholic liver disease, and other pathological conditions. The aim of this review is to briefly describe the multiple post-translational modifications of mitochondrial ALDH2, as an example, after exposure to toxic chemicals or under different disease states and their pathophysiological roles in promoting alcohol/drug-mediated tissue damage. We also briefly mention exciting preclinical translational research opportunities to identify small molecule activators of ALDH2 and its isozymes as potentially therapeutic/preventive agents against various disease states where the expression or activity of ALDH enzymes is altered or inactivated.
PMCID: PMC3177986  PMID: 21609791
Aldehyde dehydrogenases; post-translational modifications; cellular defense; drug toxicity; disease states; translational research
14.  Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1B1 (ALDH1B1) Is a Potential Biomarker for Human Colon Cancer 
Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) belong to a superfamily of NAD(P)+-dependent enzymes, which catalyze the oxidation of endogenous and exogenous aldehydes to their corresponding acids. Increased expression and/or activity of ALDHs, particularly ALDH1A1, have been reported to occur in human cancers. It is proposed that the metabolic function of ALDH1A1 confers the “stemness” properties to normal and cancer stem cells. Nevertheless, the identity of ALDH isozymes that contribute to the enhanced ALDH activity in specific types of human cancers remains to be elucidated. ALDH1B1 is a mitochondrial ALDH that metabolizes a wide range of aldehyde substrates including acetaldehyde and products of lipid peroxidation (LPO). In the present study, we immunohistochemically examined the expression profile of ALDH1A1 and ALDH1B1 in human adenocarcinomas of colon (N=40), lung (N=30), breast (N=33) and ovary (N=33) using an NIH tissue array. The immunohistochemical expression of ALDH1A1 or ALDH1B1 in tumor tissues was scored by their intensity (scale = 1–3) and extensiveness (% of total cancer cells). Herein we report a 5.6-fold higher expression score for ALDH1B1 in cancerous tissues than that for ALDH1A1. Remarkably, 39 out of 40 colonic cancer specimens were positive for ALDH1B1 with a staining intensity of 2.8 ± 0.5. Our study demonstrates that ALDH1B1 is more profoundly expressed in the adenocarcinomas examined in this study relative to ALDH1A1 and that ALDH1B1 is dramatically upregulated in human colonic adenocarcinoma, making it a potential biomarker for human colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3112362  PMID: 21216231
ALDH1B1; epithelial cancer; colon cancer; cancer stem cell; biomarker
15.  ALDH2 Activator Inhibits Increased Myocardial Infarction Injury by Nitroglycerin Tolerance 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(107):107ra111.
Nitroglycerin, which helps impaired cardiac function as it is converted to nitric oxide, is used worldwide to treat patients with various ischemic and congestive cardiac diseases, including angina pectoris. Nevertheless, after continuous treatment, the benefits of nitroglycerin are limited by the development of tolerance to the drug. Nitroglycerin tolerance is a result of inactivation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), an enzyme essential for cardioprotection in animals subjected to myocardial infarction (MI). Here we tested the hypothesis that the tolerance that develops as a result of sustained nitroglycerin treatment increases cardiac injury by subsequent MI. In a rat model of MI, 16 hours of prior, sustained nitroglycerin treatment (7.2 mg/kg/day) resulted in infarcts that were twice as large as those in untreated control animals and in diminished cardiac function at 3 days and 2 weeks after the MI. We also sought to identify a potential treatment to protect against this increased cardiac damage. Nitroglycerin inhibited ALDH2 activity in vitro, an effect that was blocked by Alda-1, an activator of ALDH2. Co-administration of Alda-1 (16 mg/kg/day) with the nitroglycerin prevented the nitroglycerin-induced increase in cardiac dysfunction after MI in rats, at least in part by enhancing metabolism of reactive aldehyde adducts that impair normal protein functions. If our animal studies showing that nitroglycerin tolerance increases cardiac injury upon ischemic insult are corroborated in humans, activators of ALDH2 such as Alda-1 may help to protect MI patients from this nitroglycerin-induced increase in cardiac injury, while maintaining the cardiac benefits of the increased nitric oxide concentrations produced by nitroglycerin.
PMCID: PMC3547591  PMID: 22049071
16.  AMP-Dependent Kinase and Autophagic Flux are Involved in Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 2-Offered Protection against Cardiac Toxicity of Ethanol 
Free radical biology & medicine  2011;51(9):1736-1748.
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) alleviates ethanol toxicity although the precise mechanism is unclear. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of ALDH2 on ethanol-induced myocardial damage with a focus on autophagy. Wild-type FVB and transgenic mice overexpressing ALDH2 were challenged with ethanol (3 g/kg/d, i.p.) for 3 days and cardiac mechanical function was assessed using the echocardiographic and IonOptix systems. Western blot analysis was used to evaluate essential autophagy markers, Akt and AMPK and their downstream signaling mTOR. Ethanol challenge altered cardiac geometry and function evidenced by enlarged ventricular end systolic and diastolic diameters, decreased cell shortening and intracellular Ca2+ rise, prolonged relengthening and intracellular Ca2+ decay, as well as reduced SERCA Ca2+ uptake, the effects of which were mitigated by ALDH2. Ethanol challenge facilitated myocardial autophagy as evidenced by enhanced expression of Beclin, ATG7 and LC3B II, as well as mTOR dephosphorylation, which was alleviated by ALDH2. Ethanol challenge-induced cardiac defect and apoptosis were reversed by the ALDH-2 agonist Alda-1, the autophagy inhibitor 3-MA, and the AMPK inhibitor compound C whereas the autophagy inducer rapamycin and the AMPK activator AICAR mimicked or exacerbated ethanol-induced cell injury. Ethanol promoted or suppressed phosphorylation of AMPK and Akt, respectively, in FVB but not ALDH2 murine hearts. Moreover, AICAR nullified Alda-1-induced protection against ethanol-triggered autophagic and functional changes. Ethanol increased GFP-LC3 puncta in H9c2 cells, the effect of which was ablated by Alda-1 and 3-MA. Lysosomal inhibition using bafilomycin A1, E64D and pepstatin A obliterated Alda-1- but not ethanol-induced responses in GFP-LC3 puncta. Our results suggested that ALDH2 protects against ethanol toxicity through altered Akt and AMPK signaling and regulation of autophagic flux.
PMCID: PMC3188331  PMID: 21871561
Ethanol; ALDH2; myocardial dysfunction; autophagy; autophagy flux; Akt; AMPK
17.  Aldehydic load and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 profile during the progression of post-myocardial infarction cardiomyopathy: benefits of Alda-1 
We previously demonstrated that reducing cardiac aldehydic load by aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), a mitochondrial enzyme responsible for metabolizing the major lipid peroxidation product, protects against acute ischemia/reperfusion injury and chronic heart failure. However, time-dependent changes in ALDH2 profile, aldehydic load and mitochondrial bioenergetics during progression of post-myocardial infarction (post-MI) cardiomyopathy is unknown and should be established to determine the optimal time window for drug treatment.
Here we characterized cardiac ALDH2 activity and expression, lipid peroxidation, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) adduct formation, glutathione pool and mitochondrial energy metabolism and H2O2 release during the 4 weeks after permanent left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery occlusion in rats.
We observed a sustained disruption of cardiac mitochondrial function during the progression of post-MI cardiomyopathy, characterized by >50% reduced mitochondrial respiratory control ratios and up to 2 fold increase in H2O2 release. Mitochondrial dysfunction was accompanied by accumulation of cardiac and circulating lipid peroxides and 4-HNE protein adducts and down-regulation of electron transport chain complexes I and V. Moreover, increased aldehydic load was associated with a 90% reduction in cardiac ALDH2 activity and increased glutathione pool. Further supporting an ALDH2 mechanism, sustained Alda-1 treatment (starting 24hrs after permanent LAD occlusion surgery) prevented aldehydic overload, mitochondrial dysfunction and improved ventricular function in post-MI cardiomyopathy rats.
Taken together, our findings demonstrate a disrupted mitochondrial metabolism along with an insufficient cardiac ALDH2-mediated aldehyde clearance during the progression of ventricular dysfunction, suggesting a potential therapeutic value of ALDH2 activators during the progression of post-myocardial infarction cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC4405147  PMID: 25464432
myocardial infarction; 4-hydroxinonenal; oxidative stress; bioenergetics; aldehyde dehydrogenase 2
18.  Effects of ALDH2 Genotype, PPI Treatment and L-Cysteine on Carcinogenic Acetaldehyde in Gastric Juice and Saliva after Intragastric Alcohol Administration 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0120397.
Acetaldehyde (ACH) associated with alcoholic beverages is Group 1 carcinogen to humans (IARC/WHO). Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), a major ACH eliminating enzyme, is genetically deficient in 30–50% of Eastern Asians. In alcohol drinkers, ALDH2-deficiency is a well-known risk factor for upper aerodigestive tract cancers, i.e., head and neck cancer and esophageal cancer. However, there is only a limited evidence for stomach cancer. In this study we demonstrated for the first time that ALDH2 deficiency results in markedly increased exposure of the gastric mucosa to acetaldehyde after intragastric administration of alcohol. Our finding provides concrete evidence for a causal relationship between acetaldehyde and gastric carcinogenesis. A plausible explanation is the gastric first pass metabolism of ethanol. The gastric mucosa expresses alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes catalyzing the oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde, especially at the high ethanol concentrations prevailing in the stomach after the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The gastric mucosa also possesses the acetaldehyde-eliminating ALDH2 enzyme. Due to decreased mucosal ALDH2 activity, the elimination of ethanol-derived acetaldehyde is decreased, which results in its accumulation in the gastric juice. We also demonstrate that ALDH2 deficiency, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) treatment, and L-cysteine cause independent changes in gastric juice and salivary acetaldehyde levels, indicating that intragastric acetaldehyde is locally regulated by gastric mucosal ADH and ALDH2 enzymes, and by oral microbes colonizing an achlorhydric stomach. Markedly elevated acetaldehyde levels were also found at low intragastric ethanol concentrations corresponding to the ethanol levels of many foodstuffs, beverages, and dairy products produced by fermentation. A capsule that slowly releases L-cysteine effectively eliminated acetaldehyde from the gastric juice of PPI-treated ALDH2-active and ALDH2-deficient subjects. These results provide entirely novel perspectives for the prevention of gastric cancer, especially in established risk groups.
PMCID: PMC4382225  PMID: 25831092
19.  The mutation in the mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) gene responsible for alcohol-induced flushing increases turnover of the enzyme tetramers in a dominant fashion. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;98(9):2027-2032.
Deficiency in mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), a tetrameric enzyme, results from inheriting one or two ALDH2*2 alleles. This allele encodes a protein subunit with a lysine for glutamate substitution at position 487 and is dominant over the wild-type allele, ALDH2*1. The ALDH2*2-encoded subunit (ALDH2K) reduces the activity of ALDH2 enzyme in cell lines expressing the wild-type subunit (ALDH2E). In addition to this effect on the enzyme activity, we now report that ALDH2*2 heterozygotes had lower levels of ALDH2 immunoreactive protein in autopsy liver samples. The half-lives of ALDH2 protein in HeLa cell lines expressing ALDH2*1, ALDH2*2, or both were determined by the rate of loss of immunoreactive protein after inhibition of protein synthesis with puromycin and by pulse-chase experiments. By either measure, ALDH2E enzyme was very stable, with a half-life of at least 22 h. ALDH2K enzyme had an enzyme half-life of only 14 h. In cells expressing both subunits, most of the subunits assemble as heterotetramers, and these enzymes had a half-life of 13 h. Thus, the effect of ALDH2K on enzyme turnover is dominant. These studies indicate that the ALDH2*2 allele exerts its dominant effect both by interfering with the catalytic activity of the enzyme and by increasing its turnover. This represents the first example of a dominantly acting allele with this effect on a mitochondrial enzyme's turnover.
PMCID: PMC507646  PMID: 8903321
20.  Evaluation of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1 Promoter Polymorphisms Identified in Human Populations 
Cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase, or ALDH1A1, functions in ethanol detoxification, metabolism of neurotransmitters, and synthesis of retinoic acid. Because the promoter region of a gene can influence gene expression, the ALDH1A1 promoter regions were studied to identify polymorphism, to assess their functional significance, and to determine whether they were associated with a risk for developing alcoholism.
Sequence analysis was performed in the promoter region by using Asian, Caucasian, and African American subjects. The resulting polymorphisms were assessed for frequency in Asian, Caucasian, Jewish, and African American populations and tested for associations with alcohol dependence in Asian and African American populations of alcoholics and controls. The functional significance of each polymorphism was determined through in vitro expression analysis by using HeLa and HepG2 cells.
Two polymorphisms, a 17 base pair (bp) deletion (−416/−432) and a 3 bp insertion (−524), were discovered in the ALDH1A1 promoter region: ALDH1A1*2 and ALDH1A1*3, respectively. ALDH1A1*2 was observed at frequencies of 0.035, 0.023, 0.023, and 0.012 in the Asian, Caucasian, Jewish, and African American populations, respectively. ALDH1A1*3 was observed only in the African American population, at a frequency of 0.029. By using HeLa and HepG2 cells for in vitro expression, the activity of the luciferase reporter gene was significantly decreased after transient transfection of ALDH1A1*3-luciferase compared with the wild-type construct ALDH1A1*1-luciferase. In an African American population, a trend for higher frequencies of the ALDH1A1*2 and ALDH1A1*3 alleles was observed in a population of alcoholics (p = 0.03 and f = 0.12, respectively) compared with the control population.
ALDH1A1*2 and ALDH1A1*3 may influence ALDH1A1 gene expression. Both ALDH1A1*2 and ALDH1A1*3 produce a trend in an African American population that may be indicative of an association with alcoholism; however, more samples are required to validate this observation. The underlying mechanisms contributing to these trends are still unknown.
PMCID: PMC4560114  PMID: 14506398
ALDH1A1; Alcoholism; Polymorphism; Human; Alcohol Metabolism
21.  Impaired Cardiac SIRT1 Activity by Carbonyl Stress Contributes to Aging-Related Ischemic Intolerance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74050.
Reactive aldehydes can initiate protein oxidative damage which may contribute to heart senescence. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is considered to be a potential interventional target for I/R injury management in the elderly. We hypothesized that aldehyde mediated carbonyl stress increases susceptibility of aged hearts to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, and elucidate the underlying mechanisms with a focus on SIRT1. Male C57BL/6 young (4-6 mo) and aged (22-24 mo) mice were subjected to myocardial I/R. Cardiac aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), SIRT1 activity and protein carbonyls were assessed. Our data revealed that aged heart exhibited increased endogenous aldehyde/carbonyl stress due to impaired ALDH2 activity concomitant with blunted SIRT1 activity (P<0.05). Exogenous toxic aldehydes (4-HNE) exposure in isolated cardiomyocyte verified that aldehyde-induced carbonyl modification on SIRT1 impaired SIRT1 activity leading to worse hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) injury, which could all be rescued by Alda-1 (ALDH2 activator) (all P<0.05). However, SIRT1 inhibitor blocked the protective effect of Alda-1 on H/R cardiomyocyte. Interestingly, myocardial I/R leads to higher carbonylation but lower activity of SIRT1 in aged hearts than that seen in young hearts (P<0.05). The application of Alda-1 significantly reduced the carbonylation on SIRT1 and markedly improved the tolerance to in vivo I/R injury in aged hearts, but failed to protect Sirt1+/− knockout mice against myocardial I/R injury. This was verified by Alda-1 treatment improved postischemic contractile function recovery in ex vivo perfused aged but not in Sirt1+/− hearts. Thus, aldehyde/carbonyl stress is accelerated in aging heart. These results provide a new insight that impaired cardiac SIRT1 activity by carbonyl stress plays a critical role in the increased susceptibility of aged heart to I/R injury. ALDH2 activation can restore this aging-related myocardial ischemic intolerance.
PMCID: PMC3769351  PMID: 24040162
22.  Refined Geographic Distribution of the Oriental ALDH2*504Lys (nee 487Lys) Variant 
Annals of human genetics  2009;73(Pt 3):335-345.
Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) is one of the most important enzymes in human alcohol metabolism. The oriental ALDH2*504Lys variant functions as a dominant negative greatly reducing activity in heterozygotes and abolishing activity in homozygotes. This allele is associated with serious disorders such as alcohol liver disease, late onset Alzheimer disease, colorectal cancer, and esophageal cancer, and is best known for protection against alcoholism. Many hundreds of papers in various languages have been published on this variant, providing allele frequency data for many different populations. To develop a highly refined global geographic distribution of ALDH2*504Lys, we have collected new data on 4,091 individuals from 86 population samples and assembled published data on a total of 80,691 individuals from 366 population samples. The allele is essentially absent in all parts of the world except East Asia. The ALDH2*504Lys allele has its highest frequency in Southeast China, and occurs in most areas of China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Indochina with frequencies gradually declining radially from Southeast China. As the indigenous populations in South China have much lower frequencies than the southern Han migrants from Central China, we conclude that ALDH2*504Lys was carried by Han Chinese as they spread throughout East Asia. Esophageal cancer, with its highest incidence in East Asia, may be associated with ALDH2*504Lys because of a toxic effect of increased acetaldehyde in the tissue where ingested ethanol has its highest concentration. While the distributions of esophageal cancer and ALDH2*504Lys do not precisely correlate, that does not disprove the hypothesis. In general the study of fine scale geographic distributions of ALDH2*504Lys and diseases may help in understanding the multiple relationships among genes, diseases, environments, and cultures.
PMCID: PMC2846302  PMID: 19456322
East Asia; aldehyde dehydrogenase 2; alcohol associated; allele frequency; esophageal cancer
23.  Bioactivation of Nitroglycerin by Purified Mitochondrial and Cytosolic Aldehyde Dehydrogenases* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(26):17873-17880.
Metabolism of nitroglycerin (GTN) to 1,2-glycerol dinitrate (GDN) and nitrite by mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) is essentially involved in GTN bioactivation resulting in cyclic GMP-mediated vascular relaxation. The link between nitrite formation and activation of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) is still unclear. To test the hypothesis that the ALDH2 reaction is sufficient for GTN bioactivation, we measured GTN-induced formation of cGMP by purified sGC in the presence of purified ALDH2 and used a Clark-type electrode to probe for nitric oxide (NO) formation. In addition, we studied whether GTN bioactivation is a specific feature of ALDH2 or is also catalyzed by the cytosolic isoform (ALDH1). Purified ALDH1 and ALDH2 metabolized GTN to 1,2- and 1,3-GDN with predominant formation of the 1,2-isomer that was inhibited by chloral hydrate (ALDH1 and ALDH2) and daidzin (ALDH2). GTN had no effect on sGC activity in the presence of bovine serum albumin but caused pronounced cGMP accumulation in the presence of ALDH1 or ALDH2. The effects of the ALDH isoforms were dependent on the amount of added protein and, like 1,2-GDN formation, were sensitive to ALDH inhibitors. GTN caused biphasic sGC activation with apparent EC50 values of 42 ± 2.9 and 3.1 ± 0.4 μm in the presence of ALDH1 and ALDH2, respectively. Incubation of ALDH1 or ALDH2 with GTN resulted in sustained, chloral hydrate-sensitive formation of NO. These data may explain the coupling of ALDH2-catalyzed GTN metabolism to sGC activation in vascular smooth muscle.
PMCID: PMC2440601  PMID: 18450747
24.  Comparative genomics, molecular evolution and computational modeling of ALDH1B1 and ALDH2 
Chemico-biological interactions  2012;202(0):11-21.
Vertebrate ALDH2 genes encode mitochondrial enzymes capable of metabolizing acetaldehyde and other biological aldehydes in the body. Mammalian ALDH1B1, another mitochondrial enzyme sharing 72% identity with ALDH2, is also capable of metabolizing acetaldehyde but has a tissue distribution and pattern of activity distinct from that of ALDH2. Bioinformatic analyses of several vertebrate genomes were undertaken using known ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 amino acid sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of many representative vertebrate species (including fish, amphibians, birds and mammals) indicated the presence of ALDH1B1 in many mammalian species and in frogs (Xenopus tropicalis); no evidence was found for ALDH1B1 in the genomes of birds, reptiles or fish. Predicted vertebrate ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 subunit sequences and structures were highly conserved, including residues previously shown to be involved in catalysis and coenzyme binding for human ALDH2. Studies of ALDH1B1 sequences supported the hypothesis that the ALDH1B1 gene originated in early vertebrates from a retrotransposition of the vertebrate ALDH2 gene. Given the high degree of similarity between ALDH2 and ALDH1B1, it is surprising that individuals with an inactivating mutation in ALDH2 (ALDH2*2) do not exhibit a compensatory increase in ALDH1B1 activity. We hypothesized that the similarity between the two ALDHs would allow for dominant negative heterotetramerization between the inactive ALDH2 mutants and ALDH1B1. Computational-based molecular modeling studies examining predicted protein-protein interactions indicated that heterotetramerization between ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 subunits was highly probable and may partially explain a lack of compensation by ALDH1B1 in ALDH2*2 individuals.
PMCID: PMC3687035  PMID: 23247008
Aldehyde dehydrogenases; ALDH1B1; ALDH2; ALDH2*2; Heterotetramerization; Retrotransposition
25.  Expression of the Vibrio cholerae gene encoding aldehyde dehydrogenase is under control of ToxR, the cholera toxin transcriptional activator. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1991;173(9):2842-2851.
The toxR gene of Vibrio cholerae encodes a transcriptional activator required for the expression of the cholera toxin genes (ctxAB) and more than 15 other genes encoding secreted or membrane proteins. The latter group includes virulence genes involved in the biogenesis of the TCP pilus, the accessory colonization factor, and such ToxR-activated genes as tagA, mutations in which cause no detectable virulence defect in the suckling mouse model. To analyze the regulation of expression and the structure of tagA, we have cloned and sequenced about 2 kb of DNA upstream from a tagA::TnphoA fusion. While the portion of the tagA gene product examined presented no extensive similarity to any known protein, the amino acid sequence deduced from an open reading frame (designated aldA) located upstream from and in opposite orientation to tagA was highly similar to the sequences of eukaryotic aldehyde dehydrogenases. An assay of aldehyde dehydrogenase activity in extracts of a wild-type V. cholerae strainand an aldA mutant confirmed that aldA encodes an aldehyde dehydrogenase. Expression of the aldA gene was studied together with that of tagA in both V. cholerae and Escherichia coli. The expression of both tagA and aldA was environmentally regulated and dependent on a functional toxR gene in V. cholerae, but neither promoter was activated by ToxR in E. coli, suggesting that expression of tagA and aldA requires an additional transcriptional activator besides ToxR. The aldA gene is the first example of a gene encoding a cytoplasmic protein that is under the control of ToxR, and this suggests that metabolic enzymes may constitute novel members of virulence regulons in bacteria.
PMCID: PMC207865  PMID: 1902210

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