The distribution of alanine:2-oxoglutarate aminotransferase (EC in spinach (Spinacia oleracea) leaf homogenates was examined by centrifugation in a sucrose density gradient. About 55% of the total homogenate activity was localized in the peroxisomes and the remainder in the soluble fraction. The peroxisomes contained a single form of alanine:2-oxoglutarate aminotransferase, and the soluble fraction contained two forms of the enzyme. Both the peroxisomal enzyme and the soluble predominant form (about 90% of the total soluble activity) were co-purified with glutamate:glyoxylate aminotransferase to homogeneity; it had been reported to be present exclusively in the peroxisomes of plant leaves and to participate in the glycollate pathway in leaf photorespiration [Tolbert (1971) Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 22, 45-74]. The evidence indicates that alanine:2-oxoglutarate aminotransferase and glutamate:glyoxylate aminotransferase activities are associated with the same protein. The peroxisomal and soluble enzyme preparations had nearly identical properties, suggesting that the soluble predominant alanine aminotransferase activity is from broken peroxisomes and about 96% of the total homogenate activity is located in peroxisomes.

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