Scatchard analysis of3H-guanosine diphosphate (GDP) binding to rat brown-adipose-tissue mitochondria demonstrated that binding to the high- and low-affinity sites (Kd = 0.05 and 2.0 μM) was abolished by denaturation at 100°C but non-specific binding remained constant (0.2% of free-GDP). Prior incubation of mitochondria at 37°C reduced binding to the high-affinity site, but this could be reversed by incubating samples at 0°C. Addition of palmitic acid (5–40 nmole/mg of mitochondrial protein) did not affect GDP-binding, but similar concentrations of palmitoyl CoA caused a slight reduction in the number of high-affinity sites and a significant decrease in the number of lower-affinity sites. Acute treatments known to stimulate thermogenesis in vivo (a single meal, cold exposure, or noradrenaline injection 40–80 min before sacrifice) all increased binding to both binding sites, and tended to raise the dissociation constants, whereas injection of 2-deoxy-D-glucose, which depresses metabolic rate in the rat, decreased dissociation constants of both sites and the maximum number of high-affinity sites. These data indicate that both GDP-binding sites respond rapidly to acute thermogenic stimuli, possibly due to conformational changes in the mitochondrial inner membrane, and that palmitoyl CoA may influence mitochondrial proton conductance via an association with purine nucleotide binding sites.

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