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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998 May;30(5):597-608.

Mitochondrial aldehyde reductase: identification and characterization in rat liver and kidney cortex.

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  • 1Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland.


Aldehyde reductase (EC has been regarded so far as an exclusively cytosolic enzyme. The present investigation shows that mitochondria of rat liver, kidney cortex and, tentatively, heart also contain an enzyme catalyzing oxidation of NADPH by aldehydes, p-nitrobenzaldehyde, methylglyoxal and glyceraldehyde. Activity of the mitochondrial enzyme can only be measured after the organelles are disrupted by sonication or solubilized with nonionic detergents. Mitochondrial aldehyde reductase activity contributed to about 4.6% and 2.5% of the total cellular activity in liver and kidney cortex, respectively. However, the specific activity in liver mitochondria was about one third and in kidney cortex mitochondria one tenth of that in the cytosol of the corresponding organ. The mitochondrial enzyme resembled the cytosolic one by its absolute specificity towards NADPH as the electron donor, a similar profile of aldehydic electron acceptors and identical Km values. Mitochondrial aldehyde reductase differed from the cytosolic enzyme by low sensitivity to known inhibitors of cytosolic aldehyde reductase, AL-1576, AL-4114 and ONO-2235. In liver, about 60% of the mitochondrial activity was tightly bound to the membranes whereas about 40% was present in the mitochondrial matrix. The membrane-bound activity was inactivated by digestion of mitoplasts with trypsin, alpha-chymotrypsin or papain, thus pointing to exposition of the substrate-binding site at the external surface of the inner membrane. On the other hand, latency of the enzyme in intact mitochondria indicates that the NADPH-binding site is located at the inner surface. These data provide the first direct evidence for the existence of aldehyde reductase in mitochondria of some rat tissues.

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