From biochemical textbooks, one can get the impression that cellular metabolism where interconversions of metabolites occur along clearly defined pathways. In these pathways, reactions are catalyzed by exquisitely specific enzymes. 

Yet, the reality is different, Many enzymes do not only act on their physiological substrate but also on substrates that are structurally related. This leads to the production of side-products that can be toxic to cells. To prevent this toxicity, dedicated enzymes exist that eliminate these side-products or convert them into useful metabolites. Depending on the context, these enzymes have been termed metabolite repair, clean-up or sanitizing enzymes.



In the last couple of years, our lab has identified several metabolite repair enzymes that play an important role in cellular metabolism. We are convinced that disturbances in metabolite repair enzymes might play a key role in several  diseases. Thus our work might reveal novel facets of the pathogenesis of several rare and common diseases.

Published examples from our labs include:


Bommer GT, Van Schaftingen E, Veiga-da-Cunha M (2020). Metabolite Repair Enzymes Control Metabolic Damage in Glycolysis. Trends Biochemical Sciences. 45(3):228-243. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2019.07.004.

Collard F, Baldin F, Gerin I, Bolsee J, Noel G, Graff J, Veiga-da-Cunha M, Stroobant V, Vertommen D, Houddane A, Rider MH, Linster CL, Van Schaftingen E, Bommer GT (2016). A conserved phosphatase destroys toxic glycolytic side products in mammals and yeast. Nature chemical biology 12(601-607. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2104.

Veiga-da-Cunha M, Chevalier N, Stephenne X, Defour JP, Paczia N, Ferster A, Achouri Y, Dewulf JP, Linster CL, Bommer GT, Van Schaftingen E (2019). Failure to eliminate a phosphorylated glucose analog leads to neutropenia in patients with G6PT and G6PC3 deficiency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 116(4):1241-1250. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816143116. Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Gerin I, Bury M, Baldin F, Graff J, Van Schaftingen E, Bommer GT (2019). Phosphoglycolate has profound metabolic effects but most likely no role in a metabolic DNA response in cancer cell lines. Biochemical Journal. 476(4):629-643. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20180435.

Peracchi A, Veiga-da-Cunha M, Kuhara T, Ellens KW, Paczia N, Stroobant V, Seliga AK, Marlaire S, Jaisson S, Bommer GT, Sun J, Huebner K, Linster CL, Cooper AJL, Van Schaftingen E (2017). Nit1 is a metabolite repair enzyme that hydrolyzes deaminated glutathione. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114(16):E3233-E3242. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1613736114.

Clerbaux LA, Schultz H, Roman-Holba S, Ruan DF, Yu R, Lamb AM, Bommer GT, Kennell JA (2021). The microRNA miR-33 is a pleiotropic regulator of metabolic and developmental processes in Drosophila melanogaster. Developmental Dynamics. 250(11):1634-1650. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.344.