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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Measurement of carnitine biosynthesis enzyme activities by tandem mass spectrometry: differences between the mouse and the rat.

Although the mouse frequently is used to study metabolism and deficiencies therein, little is known about carnitine biosynthesis in this animal. To this point, only laborious procedures have been described to measure the activity of carnitine biosynthesis enzymes using subcellular fractions as the enzyme source. We developed two simple tandem mass spectrometry-based methods to determine the activity of three carnitine biosynthesis enzymes (6-N-trimethyllysine dioxygenase, 4-trimethylaminobutyraldehyde dehydrogenase, and 4-trimethylaminobutyric acid dioxygenase) in total homogenates that can be prepared from frozen tissue. The new assays were used to characterize these enzymes in mouse liver homogenate. Because carnitine biosynthesis has been studied extensively in the rat, we compared the mouse tissue distribution of carnitine biosynthesis enzyme activities and levels of the biosynthesis metabolites with those in the rat to determine which tissues contribute to carnitine biosynthesis in these species. Surprisingly, large differences in enzyme activities were found between the rat and the mouse, whereas carnitine biosynthesis metabolite levels were very similar in both species, possibly due to the different kinetic properties of the first enzyme of carnitine biosynthesis. Also, muscle carnitine levels were found to vary considerably between these two species, suggesting that there is a metabolic dissimilarity between the mouse and the rat.[1]


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