The effect of disulfiram, [1-14C]disulfiram and some other thiol reagents on the activity of cytoplasmic aldehyde dehydrogenase from sheep liver was studied. The results are consistent with a rapid covalent interaction between disulfiram and the enzyme, and inconsistent with the notion that disulfiram is a reversible competitive inhibitor of cytoplasmic aldehyde dehydrogenase. There is a non-linear relationship between loss of about 90% of the enzyme activity and amount of disulfiram added; possible reasons for this are discussed. The remaining approx. 10% of activity is relatively insensitive to disulfiram. It is found that modification of only a small number of groups (one to two) per tetrameric enzyme molecule is responsible for the observed loss of activity. The dehydrogenase activity of the enzyme is affected more severely by disulfiram than is the esterase activity. Negatively charged thiol reagents have little or no effect on cytoplasmic aldehyde dehydrogenase. 2,2′-Dithiodipyridine is an activator of the enzyme.

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