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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1993 Apr 5;1142(1-2):11-22.

The mechanisms by which mild respiratory chain inhibitors inhibit hepatic gluconeogenesis.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.


(1) Liver cells from starved rats were incubated with 10 mM L-lactate, 1 mM pyruvate and 0.3 microM glucagon in the presence and absence of the mild respiratory inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU) at 0.5 mM. (2) The whole cell concentrations of phosphoenolpyruvate, 2-phosphoglycerate and 3-phosphoglycerate increased about 2-fold, whilst the triose and hexose phosphate concentrations all decreased significantly. Similar results were obtained with 0.15 microM oligomycin and 10 microM atractyloside. (3) These data can be explained by a substantial decrease in the cytosolic free concentration ratio of ATP/ADP acting on the equilibrium of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and phosphoglycerate kinase. (4) The increase in cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate concentration can account for the observed increase in pyruvate kinase flux that occurs under these conditions (Pryor et al. (1987) Biochem. J. 247, 449-457). (5) An inhibition of pyruvate carboxylase was also implied by a decrease in calculated tissue oxaloacetate concentrations, confirming a role for both enzymes in the inhibition of gluconeogenesis. (6) Whole cell concentrations of effectors of pyruvate carboxylase activity were measured; only the ATP/ADP ratio decreased significantly. (7) Subcellular fractionation studies showed a good correlation between the measured mitochondrial ATP/ADP ratio and rates of gluconeogenesis both in the presence and absence of oleate. (8) A similar correlation could be observed between rates of pyruvate carboxylation and the measured matrix ATP/ADP ratio in isolated liver mitochondria from starved rats. (9) Data are also presented suggesting an additional effect of DCMU on the rate pyruvate carboxylation in situ under some circumstances, mediated by decreases in mitochondrial acetyl-CoA and cytosolic pyruvate concentrations. (10) It is noted that the effects of phenylethylbiguanide (phenformin) on the rate of gluconeogenesis and metabolite profiles in the perfused liver (Cooke et al. (1973) J. Biol. Chem. 248, 5272-5277) are similar to those caused by DCMU, supporting a mitochondrial locus of action for this hypoglycaemic agent.

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