Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 259–266 | Cite as

Chicken ornithine transacarbamylase: Its unexpected expression

  • Soichi Tsuji
  • Seiki Kanazawa


Ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), one of the enzymes of the urea cycle, is detectable in some strains of chickens, although they have no functional urea cycle. The enzyme consists of three identical subunits of 36 kd and is present in mitochondria of the kidney. Using immunoabsorbent column chromatography, we found further evidence that the enzyme is detectable as a precursor form (40 kd) in chicken brain, heart, liver, pancreas, gizzard, small intestine, and breast muscle. When an extract of small intestine containing only precursor OTC was treated with a kidney extract, the precursor was converted into OTC. This suggests that there is a tissue-specific processing protease in the kidney which splits a peptide off the precursor, causing the expression of OTC activity in this organ. However, the reason why the enzyme or its precursor is expressed in these organs is not known. The results of this study suggest that, unlike mammals, chickens are more organ specific with regard to the ability to incorporate precursor OTC into mitochondria.

Key words

chicken ornithine transcarbamylase precursor ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) organ-specific expression organ-specific processing 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soichi Tsuji
    • 1
  • Seiki Kanazawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of AgricultureKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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