Neurochemical Research

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 1491–1501 | Cite as

Regulation of mitochondrial and cytosolic malic enzymes from cultured rat brain astrocytes

  • Mary C. McKenna
  • J. Tyson Tildon
  • J. H. Stevenson
  • Xueli Huang
  • Kenneth G. Kingwell
Original Articles

Abstract

Malate has a number of key roles in the brain, including its function as a tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediate, and as a participant in the malate-aspartate shuttle. In addition, malate is converted to pyruvate and CO2 via malic enzyme and may participate in metabolic trafficking between astrocytes and neurons. We have previously demonstrated that malate is metabolized in at least two compartments of TCA cycle activity in astrocytes. Since malic enzyme contributes to the overall regulation of malate metabolism, we determined the activity and kinetics of the mitochondrial and cytosolic forms of this enzyme from cultured astrocytes. Malic enzyme activity measured at 37°C in the presence of 0.5 mM malate was 4.15±0.47 and 11.61±0.98 nmol/min/mg protein, in mitochondria and cytosol, respectively (mean±SEM, n=18–19). Malic enzyme activity was also measured in the presence of several endogenous compounds, which have been shown to alter intracellular malate metabolism in astrocytes, to determine if these compounds affected malic enzyme activity. Lactate inhibited cytosolic malic enzyme by a noncompetitive mechanism, but had no effect on the mitochondrial enzyme. α-Ketoglutarate inhibited both cytosolic and mitochondrial malic enzymes by a partial noncompetitive mechanism. Citrate inhibited cytosolic malic enzyme competitively and inhibited mitochondrial malic enzyme noncompetitively at low concentrations of malate, but competitively at high concentrations of malate. Both glutamate and aspartate decreased the activity of mitochondrial malic enzyme, but also increased the affinity of the enzyme for malate. The results demonstrate that mitochondrial and cytosolic malic enzymes have different kinetic parameters and are regulated differently by endogenous compounds previously shown to alter malate metabolism in astrocytes. We propose that malic enzyme in brain has an important role in the complete oxidation of anaplerotic compounds for energy.

Key Words

Malate mitochondrial malic enzyme cytosolic malic enzyme astrocytes energy metabolism 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary C. McKenna
    • 1
  • J. Tyson Tildon
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. H. Stevenson
    • 1
  • Xueli Huang
    • 1
  • Kenneth G. Kingwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Biological ChemistryUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreU.S.A.

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