Triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by various mutations in the gene encoding the key glycolytic enzyme TPI. A drastic decrease in TPI activity and an increased level of its substrate, dihydroxyacetone phosphate, have been measured in unpurified cell extracts of affected individuals. These observations allowed concluding that the different mutations in the TPI alleles result in catalytically inactive enzymes. However, despite a high occurrence of TPI null alleles within several human populations, the frequency of this disorder is exceptionally rare. In order to address this apparent discrepancy, we generated a yeast model allowing us to perform comparative in vivo analyses of the enzymatic and functional properties of the different enzyme variants. We discovered that the majority of these variants exhibit no reduced catalytic activity per se. Instead, we observed, the dimerization behavior of TPI is influenced by the particular mutations investigated, and by the use of a potential alternative translation initiation site in the TPI gene. Additionally, we demonstrated that the overexpression of the most frequent TPI variant, Glu104Asp, which displays altered dimerization features, results in diminished endogenous TPI levels in mammalian cells. Thus, our results reveal that enzyme deregulation attributable to aberrant dimerization of TPI, rather than direct catalytic inactivation of the enzyme, underlies the pathogenesis of TPI deficiency. Finally, we discovered that yeast cells expressing a TPI variant exhibiting reduced catalytic activity are more resistant against oxidative stress caused by the thiol-oxidizing reagent diamide. This observed advantage might serve to explain the high allelic frequency of TPI null alleles detected among human populations.