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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 Oct 26;936(1):114-23.

Subcellular distribution of malate-aspartate cycle intermediates during normoxia and anoxia in the heart.

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Institut für Zoologie, Lehrstuhl für Tierphysiologie, Düsseldorf, F.R.G.


The subcellular distribution of adenine nucleotides, phosphocreatine and intermediates of the malate-aspartate cycle was investigated in adult rat heart myocytes under normoxia and anoxia. Cytosolic and mitochondrial concentrations of metabolites were determined by a fractionation method using digitonin. Under normoxia, cytosolic/mitochondrial gradients were found for ATP (c/m = 4), AMP (c/m less than 0.01), citrate (c/m = 0.5), aspartate (c/m = 3), glutamate (c/m = 2), while phosphocreatine and glutamine were confined to the cytosolic space. No gradients were found for malate and 2-oxoglutarate. The results show that the transport of electrons from the cytosol into the mitochondria is supported by the glutamate gradient and by a high glutamate/aspartate ratio inside the mitochondria (Glu/Asp = 15) which is maintained by the energy-dependent Glu-Asp exchange across the mitochondrial membrane. Under anoxia, cytosolic glutamate is transaminated with pyruvate, yielding alanine and 2-oxoglutarate, which is oxidized to succinate inside the mitochondria and leaves the cell. The data indicate that stimulation of transamination is caused by a mass action effect following a decrease in cytosolic 2-oxoglutarate which may be due to succinate-2-oxoglutarate exchange across the mitochondrial membrane. Inhibition of the energy-dependent inward transport of glutamate may support this process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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