Characterization of the CoA ligases of human liver mitochondria catalyzing the activation of short- and medium-chain fatty acids and xenobiotic carboxylic acids

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Aug 5;1428(2-3):455-62. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4165(99)00088-4.


Two distinct forms of xenobiotic/medium-chain fatty acid:CoA ligase (XM-ligase) were isolated from human liver mitochondria. They were referred to as HXM-A and HXM-B based on their order of elution from a DEAE-cellulose column. Activity of the two ligases was determined toward 15 different carboxylic acids. HXM-A represented 60-80% of the benzoate activity in the lysate, and kinetic analysis revealed that benzoate was the best substrate (highest V(max)/K(m)). The enzyme also had medium-chain fatty acid:CoA ligase activity. HXM-B had the majority of the hexanoate activity and hexanoate was its best substrate. It was, however, also active toward many xenobiotic carboxylic acids. Comparison of these two human XM-ligases with the previously characterized bovine XM-ligases indicated that they were kinetically distinct. When assayed with benzoic acid as substrate, both HXM-A and HXM-B had an absolute dependence on either Mg(2+) or Mn(2+) for activity. Further, addition of monovalent cation (K(+), Rb(+), or NH(4)(+)) stimulated HXM-A activity by >30-fold and HXM-B activity by 4-fold. For both forms, activity toward straight-chain fatty acids was stimulated less by K(+) than was activity toward benzoate or phenylacetate. A 60 kDa short-chain fatty acid:CoA ligase was also isolated. It had activity toward propionate and butyrate, but not acetate, hexanoate or benzoate. The K(m)(app) values were high but similar for propionate and butyrate (285 microM and 250 microM, respectively) but the V(max)(app) was nearly 6-fold greater with propionate as substrate. While the K(m) values are somewhat high, the enzyme is still more efficient with these substrates than either of the XM-ligases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carboxylic Acids / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Coenzyme A Ligases / chemistry
  • Coenzyme A Ligases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Mitochondria, Liver / enzymology*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism


  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Xenobiotics
  • Coenzyme A Ligases
  • xenobiotic medium chain fatty acid - coenzyme A ligase