Sensitivity of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase to magnesium ions. Similar effects of spermine and insulin

A. P. Thomas, T. A. Diggle, R. M. Denton

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30 Scopus citations


The effects of Mg2+ on the activity of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase within intact mitochondria prepared from control and insulin-treated rat epididymal adipose tissue was explored by incubating the mitochondria in medium containing the ionophore A23187. The apparent K(a) for Mg2+ was approximately halved in the mitochondria derived from insulin-treated tissue in both the absence and the presence of Ca2+. In this system, the major effect of Ca2+ was also to decrease the apparent K(a) for Mg2+, rather than to change the V(max.) of the phosphatase. Damuni, Humphreys & Reed [(1984) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 124, 95-99] have reported that spermine activates ox kidney pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase. Studies were carried out on phosphatase from pig heart and rat epididymal adipose tissue which confirm and extend this observation. The major effect of spermine is shown to be a decrease in the K(a) for Mg2+, which is apparent in both the presence and the absence of Ca2+. Spermine did not affect the sensitivity of the phosphatase to Ca2+ at saturating concentrations of Mg2+. Other polyamines tested were not as effective as spermine. No alteration in the maximum activity or Mg2+-sensitivity of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase was apparent in extracts of mitochondria from insulin-treated tissue. The close similarity of the effects of spermine and the changes in kinetic properties of pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphate phosphatase within mitochondria from insulin-treated adipose tissue suggests that insulin may activate pyruvate dehydrogenase by increasing the concentration of spermine within the mitochondria. However, it is concluded that insulin is more likely to alter the interaction of the pyruvate dehydrogenase system with some other polybasic intramitochondrial component whose action can be mimicked by spermine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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