Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), the active form of vitamin B6, has been implicated in preventing human pathologies, such as diabetes and cancer. However, the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of PLP are still unclear. Using Drosophila as a model system, we show that PLP deficiency, caused either by mutations in the pyridoxal kinase-coding gene (dPdxk) or by vitamin B6 antagonists, results in chromosome aberrations (CABs). The CAB frequency in PLP-depleted cells was strongly enhanced by sucrose, glucose or fructose treatments, and dPdxk mutant cells consistently displayed higher glucose contents than their wild type counterparts, an effect that is at least in part a consequence of an acquired insulin resistance. Together, our results indicate that a high intracellular level of glucose has a dramatic clastogenic effect if combined with PLP deficiency. This is likely due to an elevated level of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE) formation. Treatment of dPdxk mutant cells with α-lipoic acid (ALA) lowered both AGE formation and CAB frequency, suggesting a possible AGE-CAB cause-effect relationship. The clastogenic effect of glucose in PLP-depleted cells is evolutionarily conserved. RNAi-mediated silencing of PDXK in human cells or treatments with PLP inhibitors resulted in chromosome breakage, which was potentiated by glucose and reduced by ALA. These results suggest that patients with concomitant hyperglycemia and vitamin B6 deficiency may suffer chromosome damage. This might impact cancer risk, as CABs are a well-known tumorigenic factor.
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