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Biochem J. 1975 Nov;152(2):161-6.

Enzymic hydrolysis of acetylcarnitine in liver from rats, sheep and cows.


1. The enzymic utilization of O-acetyl-l-carnitine other than via carnitine acetyltransferase (EC was investigated in liver homogenates from rats, sheep and dry cows. 2. An enzymic utilization of O-acetyl-l-carnitine via hydrolysis of the ester bond to yield stoicheiometric quantities of acetate and l-carnitine was demonstrated; 0.55, 0.53 and 0.30mumol of acetyl-l-carnitine were utilized/min per g fresh wt. of liver homogenates from rats, sheep and dry cows respectively. 3. The acetylcarnitine hydrolysis activity was not due to a non-specific esterase or non-specific cholinesterase. O-Acetyl-d-carnitine was not utilized. 4. The activity was associated with the enriched outer mitochondrial membrane fraction from rat liver. Isolation of this fraction resulted in an eightfold purification of acetylcarnitine hydrolase activity. 4. The K(m) for this acetylcarnitine utilization was 2mm and 1.5mm for rat and sheep liver homogenates respectively. 6. There was a significant increase in acetylcarnitine hydrolase in rats on starvation and cows on lactation and a significant decrease in sheep that were severely alloxan-diabetic. 7. The physiological role of an acetylcarnitine hydrolase is discussed in relation to coupling with carnitine acetyltransferase for the relief of ;acetyl pressure'.

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