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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1986 May 29;886(3):361-72.

Metabolism of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in intact human erythrocytes.


Freshly isolated human erythrocytes contain S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet) at a concentration of about 3.5 mumol/l cells. When such cells are incubated in a medium containing 30 microM L-methionine, 18 mM D-glucose and 118 mM sodium phosphate (pH 7.4), intracellular AdoMet levels continuously decrease to a value of about 0.1 microM after 24 h. This occurs in spite of the fact that the cellular concentrations of the substrates for the AdoMet synthetase reaction, ATP and L-methionine, remain relatively constant. In a search for incubation conditions that lead to stable levels of AdoMet in incubated cells, we have developed a sodium-Hepes-buffered medium which includes 1 mM adenine and a stoichiometric excess of MgCl2 over its ligand, phosphate. The inclusion of magnesium ion (and a reduction in phosphate) appears to increase intracellular free Mg2+, which is required for full activity of the erythrocyte AdoMet synthetase. Even in the presence of MgCl2, however, the AdoMet pool level can drop 4-6-fold within the first 2 h of incubation. We present evidence that suggests that this initial fall in the cellular AdoMet level may be due to the activation of AdoMet-dependent protein carboxyl methyltransferase, an enzyme which accounts for a large fraction of the total cellular AdoMet utilization. Adenine, or related compounds in the medium may prevent this activation, although the mechanism of this action is not clear at present.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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