Author(s): Ainscow EK, Brand MD
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Abstract The internal control of hepatocyte metabolism has been previously analysed using metabolic control analysis. The aim of this paper is to extend this analysis to include the responses of the cells to hormonal stimulus. Hepatocyte metabolism was divided into nine reaction blocks: glycogen breakdown, glucose release, glycolysis, lactate production, NADH oxidation, pyruvate oxidation, proton leak, mitochondrial phosphorylation and ATP consumption, linked by five intermediates: mitochondrial membrane potential, cytoplasmic NADH/NAD and total cellular ATP, glucose 6-phosphate and pyruvate. The kinetic responses of the reaction blocks to the intermediates were determined previously in the absence of added hormones. In this study, the changes in flux and intermediate levels that occurred upon addition of either glucagon or adrenaline were measured. From comparison of the fractional changes in fluxes and intermediate levels with the known kinetics of the system, it was possible to determine the primary sites of action of the hormones. The results show that the majority of processes in the cell are responsive to the hormones. The notable exception to this is the failure of adrenaline to have a direct effect on glycolysis. The activity change of each metabolic block observed in the presence of either hormone was quantified and compared to the indirect effects on each block caused by changes in metabolite levels. The second stage of the analysis was to use the calculated activity changes and the known control pattern of the system to give a semiquantitative analysis of the regulatory pathways employed by the hormones to achieve the changes in fluxes and metabolite levels. This was instructive in analysing, for example, how glucagon caused a decrease in flux through glycolysis and an increase in oxidative phosphorylation without large changes in metabolite levels (homeostasis). Conversely, it could be seen that the failure of adrenaline to maintain a constant glucose 6-phosphate concentration was due to the stimulation of glycogen breakdown and inhibition of glucose release.
This article was published in Eur J Biochem
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology