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Biochem J. 1987 Sep 15;246(3):633-9.

Analysis of tricarboxylic acid-cycle metabolism of hepatoma cells by comparison of 14CO2 ratios.

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Department of Physiology, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20037.


The CO2-ratios method is applied to the analysis of abnormalities of TCA (tricarboxylic acid)-cycle metabolism in AS-30D rat ascites-hepatoma cells. This method utilizes steady-state 14CO2-production rates from pairs of tracers of the same compound to evaluate TCA-cycle flux patterns. Equations are presented that quantitatively convert CO2 ratios into estimates of probability of flux through TCA-cycle-related pathways. Results of this study indicated that the ratio of 14CO2 produced from [1,4-14C]succinate to 14CO2 produced from [2,3-14C]succinate was increased by the addition of glutamine (5 mM) to the medium. An increase in the succinate CO2 ratio is quantitatively related to an increased flux of unlabelled carbon into the TCA-cycle-intermediate pools. Analysis of 14C distribution in [14C]citrate derived from [2,3-14C]succinate indicated that flux from the TCA cycle to the acetyl-CoA-derived carbons of citrate was insignificant. Thus the increased succinate CO2 ratio observed in the presence of glutamine could only result from an increased flux of carbon into the span of the TCA cycle from citrate to oxaloacetate. This result is consistent with increased flux of glutamine to alpha-oxoglutarate in the incubation medium containing exogenous glutamine. Comparison of the pyruvate CO2 ratio, steady-state 14CO2 production from [2-14C]pyruvate versus [3-14C]pyruvate, with the succinate 14CO2 ratio detected flux of pyruvate to C4 TCA-cycle intermediates in the medium containing glutamine. This result was consistent with the observation that [14C]aspartate derived from [2-14C]pyruvate was labelled in C-2 and C-3. 14C analysis also produced evidence for flux of TCA-cycle carbon to alanine. This study demonstrates that the CO2-ratios method is applicable in the analysis of the metabolic properties of AS-30D cells. This methodology has verified that the atypical TCA-cycle metabolism previously described for AS-30D-cell mitochondria occurs in intact AS-30D rat hepatoma cells.

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