The regulation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase was studied in mouse uterine epithelium. The enzyme was rapidly inactivated during incubation with ATP/Mg2+ in vitro, and could be re-activated by incubation with partially purified rat liver phosphoprotein phosphatase. Enzyme activity was rapidly inhibited by mevalonate injection in vivo to approx. 30% of control. The percentage of total enzyme active in vivo was measured by inclusion of NaF in the isolation buffers. The percentage of enzyme active in vivo 18 h after stimulation by oestrogens remained at approx. 25% after inhibition of activity by mevalonate injection, cholesterol feeding or progesterone pretreatment. However, 9 h after oestrogen stimulation, cholesterol feeding inhibited enzyme activity to 57% of control, 94% of which was in the active form. We conclude that, although all components for a reversible phosphorylative regulation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity are present in uterine epithelial cells, a role in the rapid changes in epithelial enzyme activity has not been demonstrated.

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