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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 Aug 17;935(1):87-102.

Mitochondrial boundary membrane contact sites in brain: points of hexokinase and creatine kinase location, and control of Ca2+ transport.

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  • 1Faculty of Biology, University of Constance, F.R.G.


The location of hexokinase at the surface of brain mitochondria was investigated by electron microscopy using immuno-gold labelling techniques. The enzyme was located where the two mitochondrial limiting membranes were opposed and contact sites were possible. Disruption of the outer membrane by digitonin did not remove bound hexokinase and creatine kinase from brain mitochondria, although the activity of outer membrane markers and adenylate kinase decreased, suggesting a preferential location of both enzymes in the contact sites. In agreement with that, a membrane fraction was isolated from osmotically lysed rat brain mitochondria in which hexokinase and creatine kinase were concentrated. The density of this kinase-rich fraction was specifically increased by immuno-gold labelling of hexokinase, allowing a further purification by density gradient centrifugation. The fraction was composed of inner and outer limiting membrane components as shown by the specific marker enzymes, succinate dehydrogenase and NADH-cytochrome-c-oxidase (rotenone insensitive). As reported earlier for the enriched contact site fraction of liver mitochondria the fraction from brain mitochondria contained a high activity of glutathione transferase and a low cholesterol concentration. Moreover, the contacts showed a higher Ca2+ binding capacity in comparison to outer and inner membrane fractions. This finding may have regulatory implications because glucose phosphorylation via hexokinase activated the active Ca2+ uptake system and inhibited the passive efflux, resulting in an increase of intramitochondrial Ca2+.

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