Kinetic studies on the AR (aldose reductase) protein have shown that it does not behave as a classical enzyme in relation to ring aldose sugars. As with non-enzymatic glycation reactions, there is probably a free-radical element involved derived from monosaccharide autoxidation. In the case of AR, there is free radical oxidation of NADPH by autoxidizing monosaccharides, which is enhanced in the presence of the NADPH-binding protein. Thus any assay for AR based on the oxidation of NADPH in the presence of autoxidizing monosaccharides is invalid, and tissue AR measurements based on this method are also invalid, and should be reassessed. AR exhibits broad specificity for both hydrophilic and hydrophobic aldehydes that suggests that the protein may be involved in detoxification. The last thing we would want to do is to inhibit it. ARIs (AR inhibitors) have a number of actions in the cell which are not specific, and which do not involve them binding to AR. These include peroxy-radical scavenging and effects of metal ion chelation. The AR/ARI story emphasizes the importance of correct experimental design in all biocatalytic experiments. Developing the use of Bayesian utility functions, we have used a systematic method to identify the optimum experimental designs for a number of kinetic model data sets. This has led to the identification of trends between kinetic model types, sets of design rules and the key conclusion that such designs should be based on some prior knowledge of Km and/or the kinetic model. We suggest an optimal and iterative method for selecting features of the design such as the substrate range, number of measurements and choice of intermediate points. The final design collects data suitable for accurate modelling and analysis and minimizes the error in the parameters estimated, and is suitable for simple or complex steady-state models.

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