Phosphate-activated glutaminase and mitochondrial glutamine transport in the brain

Neurochem Res. 2000 Oct;25(9-10):1407-19. doi: 10.1023/a:1007668801570.


A review of the properties of purified and tissue bound phosphate activated glutaminase (PAG) in brain and kidney (pig and rat) is presented, based on kinetic, electron microscopic and immunocytochemical studies. PAG is a mitochondrial enzyme and two pools can be separated, a soluble and membrane associated one. Intact mitochondria appear to express PAG accessible only to the outer phase of the inner mitochondrial membrane. This PAG has properties similar to that of the membrane fraction and polymeric form of purified enzyme. PAG in the soluble fraction has properties similar to that of the monomeric form of purified enzyme and is assumed to be dormant due to the high matrix concentration of the inhibitor glutamate. A hypothetical model for the localization of PAG in the mitochondria is presented. The activity of PAG in vivo is assumed to be regulated by cytosolic glutamate and other compounds, that affect the activation by phosphate. Glutamine is transported into brain and kidney mitochondria by a protein catalyzed energy requiring process, which may be mediated by more than one protein. There is no correlation between glutamine hydrolysis and transport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Glutaminase / metabolism*
  • Glutamine / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Membranes / enzymology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Swine


  • Glutamine
  • Glutaminase