Use of sulfhydryl reagents to investigate branched chain α-keto acid transport in mitochondria

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The goal of this paper was to determine the contribution of the mitochondrial branched chain aminotransferase (BCATm) to branched chain α- keto acid transport within rat heart mitochondria. Isolated heart mitochondria were treated with sulfhydryl reagents of varying permeability, and the data suggest that essential cysteine residues in BCATm are accessible from the cytosolic face of the inner membrane. Treatment with 15 nmol/mg N- ethylmaleimide (NEM) inhibited initial rates of α-ketoisocaproate (KIC) uptake in reconstituted mitochondrial detergent extracts by 70% and in the intact organelle by 50%. KIC protected against inhibition suggesting that NEM labeled a cysteine residue that is inaccessible when substrate is bound to the enzyme. Additionally, the apparent mitochondrial equilibrium KIC concentration was decreased 50-60% after NEM labeling, and this difference could not be attributed to effects of NEM on matrix pH or KIC oxidation. In fact, NEM was a better inhibitor of KIC oxidation than rotenone. Measuring matrix aspartate and glutamate levels revealed that the effects of NEM on the steady-state KIC concentration resulted from inhibition of BCATm catalyzed transamination of KIC with matrix glutamate to form leucine. Furthermore, circular dichroism spectra of recombinant human BCATm with liposomes showed that the commercial lipids used in the reconstituted transport assay contain BCAT amino acid substrates. Thus BCATm is distinct from the branched chain α-keto acid carrier but may interact with the inner mitochondrial membrane, and it is necessary to inhibit or remove transaminase activity in both intact and reconstituted systems prior to quantifying transport of α-keto acids which are transaminase substrates. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.




Drown, P. M., Torres, N., Tovar, A. R., Davoodi, J., & Hutson, S. M. (2000). Use of sulfhydryl reagents to investigate branched chain α-keto acid transport in mitochondria. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1468(1–2), 273–284.

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