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Biochem J. 1983 Sep 15;214(3):687-94.

Metabolic homoeostasis of L-threonine in the normally-fed rat. Importance of liver threonine dehydrogenase activity.


Threonine dehydratase, threonine aldolase and threonine dehydrogenase activities were assayed in livers of rats that had been normally-fed, starved for 72 h, fed a high-protein diet or normally-fed and injected with glucagon or cortisone. A modified continuous spectrophotometric assay for threonine aldolase overcame interference resulting from threonine dehydratase activity and revealed that threonine aldolase activity was very low in rat liver, irrespective of the metabolic state of the animal. The concentration of free threonine was determined in livers of animals subjected to the same treatments as described above. Using Michaelis-Menten kinetics to estimate enzyme activities in vivo at intracellular threonine concentrations it was calculated that in the normally-fed state, 87% of the threonine degraded was catabolized by threonine dehydrogenase. In other metabolic states (except in glucagon-treated animals) threonine dehydratase was the major enzyme catalysing threonine catabolism. It was concluded that threonine dehydrogenase activity plays a hitherto unrecognized role in the metabolic homoeostasis of threonine in the normally-fed rat and that this enzyme activity, in association with 2-amino-3-oxobutyrate CoA-ligase, accounts for the known rate of glycine formation from threonine in the rat.

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