A key intermediate in the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH)-catalyzed reaction is an imine. Mechanistically, therefore, GDH exhibits similarities to the ketimine reductases. In the current review, we briefly discuss (a) the metabolic importance of the GDH reaction in liver and brain, (b) the mechanistic similarities between GDH and the ketimine reductases, (c) the metabolic importance of the brain ketimine reductases, and (d) the neurochemical consequences of defective ketimine reductases. Our review contains many historical references to the early work on amino acid metabolism. This work tends to be overlooked nowadays, but is crucial for a contemporary understanding of the central importance of ketimines in nitrogen and intermediary metabolism. The ketimine reductases are important enzymes linking nitrogen flow among several key amino acids, yet have been little studied. The cerebral importance of the ketimine reductases is an area of biomedical research that deserves far more attention.
- Glutamate dehydrogenase
- Ketimine reductase