1. Glyceride biosynthesis from glycerol phosphate and [1−14C]palmitate was studied in liver homogenates of rats that were fed ad libitum or starved for 36–40hr. The changes in enzyme activity were related to total DNA content or total liver homogenate as these were found to be equivalent and to be the most meaningful parameters. 2. In liver homogenates from fed rats, labelled palmitate was incorporated mainly into phosphatidate (58% of the total incorporation into lipids), diglycerides (25%) and triglycerides (16%), whereas monoglycerides, cholesterol esters and phospholipids other than phosphatidate were labelled only to a small extent. Addition of particle-free supernatant to full homogenates increased the total incorporation of palmitate by 45% and the pattern of incorporation altered to 53% incorporated into triglycerides, 24% into diglycerides and 17% into phosphatidate. This result suggested that, in liver homogenates, phosphatidate phosphohydrolase (EC 3.1.3.4) may be rate-limiting in the biosynthesis of glycerides via the glycerol phosphate pathway. 3. Upon starvation, the amount of palmitate incorporated per liver into total phospholipids plus glycerides was decreased to between 68% and 75% of that observed with fed animals. In homogenates from fed animals 41–44% of the labelled phospholipids plus glycerides was in glycerides; this value increased to between 63% and 75% with starved rats. Of the palmitate incorporated into total phospholipids, between 85% and 86% was found in phosphatidate, independent of the nutritional state of the animal. The ratio of palmitate incorporated into triglycerides/diglycerides rose from 0·7, obtained with fed rats, to 1·0 with starved animals. 4. These results indicate that starvation caused a decrease in the activity (per total liver) of acyl-CoA–glycerol phosphate acyltransferase(s) (EC 2.3.1.15) and an increase in the activity of acyl-CoA–diglyceride acyltransferase (EC 2.3.1.20). The largest change, however, seemed to be related to the increased activity of the phosphatidate phosphohydrolase in the particle-free supernatant. 5. The latter enzyme was assayed in the particle-free supernatant with membrane-bound phosphatidate as substrate. In starvation, the activity per total liver was increased to between 130% and 190% and the specific activity to between 180% and 320% of the values for fed rats.

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