The sensitivity of rat epididymal-adipose-tissue pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase, NAD+-isocitrate dehydrogenase and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase to Ca2+ ions was studied both in mitochondrial extracts and within intact coupled mitochondria. It is concluded that all three enzymes may be activated by increases in the intramitochondrial concentration of Ca2+ and that the distribution of Ca2+ across the mitochondrial inner membrane is determined, as in rat heart mitochondria, by the relative activities of a uniporter (which transports Ca2+ into mitochondria and is inhibited by Mg2+ and Ruthenium Red) and an antiporter (which allows Ca2+ to leave mitochondria in exchange for Na+ and is inhibited by diltiazem). Previous studies with incubated fat-cell mitochondria have indicated that the increases in the amount of active non-phosphorylated pyruvate dehydrogenase in rat epididymal tissue exposed to insulin are the result of activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase. In the present studies, no changes in the activity of the phosphatase were found in extracts of mitochondria, and thus it seemed likely that insulin altered the intramitochondrial concentration of some effector of the phosphatase. Incubation of rat epididymal adipose tissue with medium containing a high concentration of CaCl2 (5mM) was found to increase the active form of pyruvate dehydrogenase to much the same extent as insulin. However, the increases caused by high [Ca2+] in the medium were blocked by Ruthenium Red, whereas those caused by insulin were not. Moreover, whereas the increases resulting from both treatments persisted during the preparation of mitochondria and their subsequent incubation in the absence of Na+, only the increases caused by treatment of the tissue with insulin persisted when the mitochondria were incubated in the presence of Na+ under conditions where the mitochondria are largely depleted of Ca2+. It is concluded that insulin does not act by increasing the intramitochondrial concentration of Ca2+. This conclusion was supported by finding no increases in the activities of the other two Ca2+-responsive intramitochondrial enzymes (NAD+-isocitrate dehydrogenase and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase) in mitochondria prepared from insulin-treated tissue compared with controls.

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