Adenosine kinase was purified 870-fold from rat heart by a combination of gel filtration and affinity chromatography. The preparation was free of purine-metabolizing enzymes that could interfere in the assay of the kinase. A study of the properties of the purified enzyme showed that it is activated by Na+ and K+, it possesses a broad pH optimum between 6 and 8, MgATP is the nucleotide substrate, free Mg2+ is an inhibitor with respect to both MgATP and adenosine, and the enzyme is subject to substrate inhibition by adenosine. The severity of this inhibition increases as the concentration of free Mg2+ increase. The Km for MgATP was calculated to be 0.8 mM and that for adenosine, at likely physiological concentrations of MgATP and free MgCl2, was about 0.2 microM. In vivo the enzyme is likely to be saturated with both MgATP and adenosine. Indeed, the adenosine concentration in rat heart in vivo is probably sufficient to cause substrate inhibition, and this would be increased by an increase in free Mg2+ concentration. Changes in the concentrations of adenosine and free Mg2+ may play a role in modifying the activity of the enzyme in vivo.

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