Studies on inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase by palmitoylcarnitine oxidation in isolated rat heart mitochondria

J Biol Chem. 1977 Mar 10;252(5):1552-60.


The oxidation of an optimal concentration of palmitoyl-carnitine, buffered with bovine serum albumin, by isolated rat heart mitochondria was found to give rise to an inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase, provided that the concentration of pyruvate present in the mitochondrial incubation was less than 250 muM. The greatest degree of inactivation was found at the lowest pyruvate concentration used, 50 muM, and this concentration was adopted for further studies in which the rate of mitochondrial respiration was varied. This was done by varying the activity of added hexokinase, in the presence of ATP, MgCl2, and glucose, and thus the availability of ADP to the mitochondrion. The pyruvate concentration in the incubation was approximately stabilized by adding pyruvate on the basis of oxygen consumption, with the ratio of pyruvate consumed:O2 consumed determined by trial and error. This device allowed the maintenance of essentially steady pyruvate concentrations and ATP/ADP ratios for at least 5 min, and allowed the pyruvate dehydrogenase interconversion time to approach a steady state. Activities of pyruvate dehydrogenase after 5 or 6 min of respiration were as follows, with values given in nanomoles/min/mg of protein for incubations containing pyruvate as sole substrate, and values for incubations containing pyruvate plus palmitoylcarnitine given in parentheses: State 4, 27 (9); 55% of State 3, 54 (14); 85% of State 3, 73 (28); State 3, 90 (93). Respiratory states are defined by Chance and Williams (1955) J. Biol. Chem. 217, 409-427). Values at earlier time points are also presented so that some idea may be formed of the time course of pyruvate dehydrogenase inactivation. CoASH/acetyl-CoA, NAD+/NADH, and ATP/ADP ratios were measured at the same time points in precisely scaled up incubations. The presence of palmitoylcarnitine in State 4 was found to give essentially no change in NAD+/NADH and ATP/ADP ratios and thus the inactivation of pyruvate dehydrogenase in that state may be attributed to a decreased CoASH/acetyl-CoA ratio. At a respiratory rate of 85% of State 3, palmitoylcarnitine did not change the ATP/ADP ratio, but lowered both CoASH/acetyl-CoA and NAD+/NADH ratios, both of which may contribute to pyruvate dehydrogenase inactivation. In State 3 there was no pyruvate dehydrogenase inactivation, despite a lowered CoASH/acetyl-CoA ratio in the presence of palmitoylcarnitine. It is concluded that ATP/ADP ratio has a pronounced effect on the interconversion of active and inactive pyruvate dehydrogenase, in according with previous work. Moreover, at a given ATP/ADP ratio, the effects of palmitoylcarnitine oxidation on enzyme interconversion are consistent with a mechanism involving the modulation of the interconversion by NAD+/NADH and CoASH/acetyl-CoA ratios...

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carnitine
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / enzymology*
  • Myocardium
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Palmitic Acids
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism*
  • Pyruvates / pharmacology
  • Rats


  • Palmitic Acids
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • Pyruvates
  • Carnitine