On 27–29 November 2013, researchers gathered at the University of Warwick, Coventry, U.K., to celebrate the centennial of the discovery of the glyoxalase pathway. The glyoxalase system was discovered and reported in papers by Carl Neuberg and by Henry Drysdale Dakin and Harold Ward Dudley in 1913. All three were leading extraordinary investigators in the pioneering years of biochemistry. Neuberg proposed glyoxalase as the pathway of mainstream glycolysis and Gustav Embden correctly discounted this, later confirmed by Otto Meyerhof. Albert Szent-Györgyi proposed glyoxalase I as the regulator of cell growth and others discounted this. In the meantime, molecular, structural and mechanistic properties of the enzymatic components of the system, glyoxalase I and glyoxalase II, have been characterized. The physiological function of the glyoxalase pathway of enzymatic defence against dicarbonyl glycation, particularly by endogenous methylglyoxal, now seems secure. We are now in an era of investigation of the regulation of the glyoxalase system where a role in aging and disease, physiological stress and drug resistance and development of healthier foods and new pharmaceuticals is emerging. The history of glyoxalase research illustrates the scientific process of hypothesis proposal, testing and rejection or acceptance with further investigation, standing testament to the need for intuition guided by experience and expertise, as well as indefatigable experimentation.

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