Dionysian mysteries: The aldehyde dehydrogenase family

The protein structure of a single subunit of ALDH2. Residue 487 is indicated in violet. ALDH2*2 αG helix is shown in red, wild type I shown in blue.

Do you have friends that can't handle alcoholic drinks? Just half a pint of beer or a few sips of wine, and their faces turn red, possibly with some hangover symptoms, such as headaches and nausea?

You may envy  their cheap night out, but wonder what's going on. The phenomenon is called ‘alcohol flush reaction’, sometimes called ‘Asian flush syndrome’. It is a condition caused by the accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol. 

Read our latest InterPro blog post to learn more about the role aldehyde dehydrogenase plays in this phenomenon.