1. Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase activity of Phaseolus aureus extracts was assayed by coupling it to the catalytic subunit of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase and determining the [14C]carbamoylaspartate so formed. The stability of the activity was improved by the addition of ornithine and dimethyl sulphoxide to the extraction medium. 2. The synthetase activity was found to utilize either glutamine or ammonia as amino donor, the Michaelis constants being 0.17±0.03mm and 6.1±1.0mm respectively. N-Acetylglutamate did not significantly alter the rate with either substrate, and azaserine inhibited the reaction with both amino donors to the same extent. 3. Ornithine was shown to stimulate the activity, and to counteract inhibition by UMP. The purine nucleotides IMP and GMP enhanced carbamoyl phosphate formation, whereas AMP had an inhibitory effect. 4. The Michaelis constant for carbamoyl phosphate was determined in concentrated extracts for both aspartate transcarbamoylase and ornithine transcarbamoylase activities, and was 0.13±0.03mm and 1.58±0.16mm respectively. The ratio of the activities of these two enzymes, determined at near-saturating substrate concentrations, was 1:3 (aspartate transcarbamoylase/ornithine transcarbamoylase). 5. It is concluded that in this plant tissue there is one enzyme, carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, supplying carbamoyl phosphate to both the pyrimidine and arginine pathways, that the pyrimidine pathway claims most of the available carbamoyl phosphate (depending on the concentration of the nucleotide effectors) when this intermediate is present at low concentrations; and that when the carbamoyl phosphate concentration is increased, possibly by ornithine stimulation, a larger proportion can be taken up by the arginine pathway.

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