Muscle branched-chain amino acid metabolism is coupled to alanine formation via branched-chain amino acid aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, but the subcellular distributions of these and other associated enzymes are uncertain. Recovery of branched-chain aminotransferase in the cytosol fraction after differential centrifugation was shown to be accompanied by leakage of mitochondrial-matrix marker enzymes. By using a differential fractional extraction procedure, most of the branched-chain aminotransferase activity in rat muscle was located in the mitochondrial compartment, whereas alanine aminotransferase was predominantly in the cytosolic compartment. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, like aspartate aminotransferase, was approximately equally distributed between these subcellular compartments. This arrangement necessitates a transfer of branched-chain amino nitrogen and carbon from the mitochondria to the cytosol for alanine synthesis de novo to occur. In incubations of hemidiaphragms from 48 h-starved rats with 3mM-valine or 3mM-glutamate, the stimulation of alanine release was inhibited by 69% by 1 mM-aminomethoxybut-3-enoate, a selective inhibitor of aspartate aminotransferase. Leucine-stimulated alanine release was unaffected. These data implicate aspartate aminotransferase in the transfer of amino acid carbon and nitrogen from the mitochondria to the cytosol, and suggest that oxaloacetate, via phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, can serve as an intermediate on the route of pyruvate formation for muscle alanine synthesis.

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