Or ALDH, this breaks down various aldehyde
s into the corresponding carboxylic acid
s. Its most notable substrate is, of course ethanal
the breakdown product of ethanol
. It is the lack of this crucial protein that causes alcohol intolerance in 25% of the Asian
population. Buildup of the ethanal intermediate causes toxic effects similar to drinking far too much. This is (not coincidentally) the basis of Anabutase
action - the drug given to combat alcoholism
. It blocks ALDH, preventing users from drinking more than a tiny amount.
The ALDH family is large and covers a large range of substrates, but another notable one is retinal (a vitamin A derivative) which is made into retinoic acid. This is a morphogen that can alter the developmental state of mammalian tissue. RALDH's may, therefore, be involved in the patterning and growth of the embryo.