Neurochemical Research

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 733–744 | Cite as

The subcellular localization of glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH): is GDH a marker for mitochondria in brain?

  • James C. K. Lai
  • Kwan-Fu Rex Sheu
  • Young Tai Kim
  • Donald D. Clarke
  • John P. Blass
Original Articles


Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH, EC has long been used as a marker for mitochondria in brain and other tissues, despite reports indicating that GDH is also present in nuclei of liver and dorsal root ganglia. To examine whether GDH can be used as a marker to differentiate between mitochondria and nuclei in the brain, we have measured GDH by enzymatic activity and on immunoblots in rat brain mitochondria and nuclei which were highly enriched by density-gradient centrifugation methods. The activity of GDH was enriched in the nuclear fraction as well as in the mitochondrial faction, while the activities of other “mitochondrial” enzymes (fumarase, NAD-isocitrate dehydrogenase and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex) were enriched only in the mitochondrial fraction. Immunoblots using polyclonal antibodies against bovine liver GDH confirmed the presence of GDH in the rat brain nuclear and mitochondrial fractions. The GDH in these two subcellular fractions had a very similar molecular weight of 56,000 daltons. The mitochondrial and nuclear GDH differed, however, in their susceptibility to solubilization by detergents and salts. The mitochondrial GDH could be solubilized by extraction with low concentrations of detergents (0.1% Triton X-100 and 0.1% Lubrol PX), while the nuclear GDH could be solubizeded only by elevated concentrations of detergents (0.3% each) plus KCl (>150mM). Our results indicate that GDH is present in both nuclei and mitochondria in rat brain. The notion that GDH may serve as a marker for mitochondria needs to be re-evaluated.


Dorsal Root Ganglion Subcellular Fraction Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Glutamate Dehydrogenase Mitochondrial Fraction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. K. Lai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kwan-Fu Rex Sheu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Young Tai Kim
    • 3
  • Donald D. Clarke
    • 1
    • 2
  • John P. Blass
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyCornell University Medical CollegeNew York
  2. 2.Altschul Laboratory for Dementia ResearchBurke Rehabilitation CenterWhite Plains
  3. 3.Department of MedicineCornell University Medical CollegeNew York

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