The activity of 3β-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1.51) in the mitochondrial fraction of rat adrenal homogenates was approx. 31% of the total activity recovered after differential centrifugation and washing of the particulate fractions. Some 45% of the total activity was found in the microsomal fraction. The activity was assayed by a radioisotopic method devised in this laboratory for the purpose of studying small quantities of tissue and cell fractions. Satisfactory separation of the two fractions was demonstrated by electron microscopy of the pellets and by comparative recoveries of RNA, steroid 21-hydroxylase and cytochrome c oxidase in the various compartments. Analyses of the kinetics of the enzyme activity in the two fractions revealed no significant differences in apparent Km for pregnenolone, dehydroepiandrosterone or NAD+, but demonstrated a distinct difference in the Km for NADP+. pH optima and susceptibility to cyanoketone inhibition were similar in both fractions.

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