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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1988 Jul;264(1):310-20.

Sites of action of glucagon and other Ca2+ mobilizing hormones on the malate aspartate cycle.

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Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University 17033.


Data from a number of laboratories suggest that the exchange of glutamate for aspartate across the mitochondrial inner membrane is stimulated by glucagon and by Ca2+-mobilizing hormones. The purpose of this study was to determine the site of action of these hormones. Two possibilities were considered and tested. The first hypothesis is that the mitochondrial membrane electrical potential gradient (delta psi m) in the cells is increased by the hormones; and that the putative increase in delta psi m stimulates aspartate efflux. The second possibility is that Ca2+ mediates decreases in cellular levels of alpha-ketoglutarate, secondary to stimulation of alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, and that the decrease in alpha-ketoglutarate stimulates aspartate production by mitochondria. The effect of glucagon on delta psi m was estimated in intact hepatocytes using the lipophilic cation tetraphenyl phosphonium. No increase in delta psi m was observed due to hormone treatment. On the other hand, alpha-ketoglutarate was found to be an effective competitive inhibitor of aspartate formation via glutamate transamination by isolated liver mitochondria (Ki = 0.55 mM).

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