What is the normal function of the G6PD gene?
The G6PD gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. This enzyme, which is active in virtually all types of cells, is involved in the normal processing of carbohydrates. It plays a critical role in red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. This enzyme helps protect red blood cells from damage and premature destruction. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase is responsible for the first step in a chemical pathway that converts glucose (a type of sugar found in most carbohydrates) to ribose-5-phosphate. Ribose-5-phosphate is an important component of nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA and its chemical cousin RNA. This chemical reaction produces a molecule called NADPH, which plays a role in protecting cells from potentially harmful molecules called reactive oxygen species. These molecules are byproducts of normal cellular functions. Reactions involving NADPH produce compounds that prevent rea