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J Biol Chem. 1978 Apr 25;253(8):2748-53.

Induction of urea cycle enzymes of rat liver by glucagon.


All five urea cycle enzymes of rat liver increased in activity 48 h after subcutaneous administration of crystalline zinc glucagon to male rats and remained elevated after 7 days of continuous glucagon infusion. The maximum ratios of enzyme activities over those of controls were 2.0 for carbamyl phosphate synthetase, 1.3 for ornithine transcarbamylase, 2.7 for argininosuccinate synthetase, 3.2 for argininosuccinase, and 2.2 for arginase. Actinomycin D or puromycin prevented these responses to glucagon. The increase in arginase activity after zinc glucagon treatment was matched by an increase in immunoprecipitable enzyme. All five enzymes were induced by physiological plasma levels of glucagon. Tube feeding of casein hydrolysate for 2 days increased all five enzyme activities 1.5- to 2.2-fold and resulted in plasma glucagon levels similar to those required for induction by exogenous glucagon. Thus, glucagon is an inducer of the entire urea cycle in rat liver and plays a role in the induction of the cycle by protein feeding.

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