The subcellular distribution and properties of four aldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzymes (I-IV) identified in 2-acetylaminofluorene-induced rat hepatomas and three aldehyde dehydrogenases (I-III) identified in normal rat liver are compared. In normal liver, mitochondria (50%) and microsomal fraction (27%) possess the majority of the aldehyde dehydrogenase, with cytosol possessing little, if any, activity. Isoenzymes I–III can be identified in both fractions and differ from each other on the basis of substrate and coenzyme specificity, substrate Km, inhibition by disulfiram and anti-(hepatoma aldehyde dehydrogenase) sera, and/or isoelectric point. Hepatomas possess considerable cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase (20%), in addition to mitochondrial (23%) and microsomal (35%) activity. Although isoenzymes I–III are present in tumour mitochondrial and microsomal fractions, little isoenzyme I or II is found in cytosol. Of hepatoma cytosolic aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, 50% is a hepatoma-specific isoenzyme (IV), differing in several properties from isoenzymes I–III; the remainder of the tumour cytosolic activity is due to isoenzyme III (48%). The data indicate that the tumour-specific aldehyde dehydrogenase phenotype is explainable by qualitative and quantitative changes involving primarily cytosolic and microsomal aldehyde dehydrogenase. The qualitative change requires the derepression of a gene for an aldehyde dehydrogenase expressed in normal liver only after exposure to potentially harmful xenobiotics. The quantitative change involves both an increase in activity and a change in subcellular location of a basal normal-liver aldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzyme.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.