In man and the rabbit, 6-phosphofructokinase (PFK, EC exists in tetrameric isoenzymic forms composed of muscle (M or A), liver (L or B) and platelet or brain (P or C) subunits, which are under separate genetic control. In contrast, the genetic control of the rat PFK has not yet been conclusively established; it is unclear whether the P-type or C-type subunit exists in this species. To resolve this question, we investigated the enzyme from the skeletal muscle, liver and brain of rats of Wag/Rij strain. Our studies demonstrate that the rat PFK is also under the control of three structural loci and that the homotetramers M4, P4 and L4 exhibit unique chromatographic, immunological and kinetic-regulatory properties. Skeletal-muscle and brain PFKs consist of isolated M4 and P4 homotetramers respectively. Although liver PFK consists predominantly of L4 homotetramer, it also contains small amounts of PL3 and P2L2 species. All three PFKs exhibit allosteric properties: co-operativity with fructose 6-phosphate and inhibition by ATP decrease in the order P4 greater than L4 greater than M4. P4 and M4 tetramers are the most sensitive to citrate inhibition, whereas L4 tetramer is the least sensitive. More importantly, P4 and L4 isoenzymes are the most sensitive to activation by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, whereas M4 isoenzyme is the least sensitive. These results indicate that the brain PFK in this strain of rat is a unique tetramer, P4, which also exhibits allosteric kinetics, as do the well-studied M4 and L4 isoenzymes. The reported differences in the number and nature of isoenzymes present in the rat brain and liver most probably reflect the differences in the strains studied by previous investigators. Since the nature of the rat PFK isoenzymes and nomenclatures reported by previous investigators have been now reconciled, it is proposed that, for the sake of uniformity, only well-established nomenclatures used for the rabbit or human PFK isoenzymes be used for the rat isoenzymes.

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