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

The apparent Km of ammonia for carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (ammonia) in situ.

Experiments with carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (ammonia) in solution and in isolated mitochondria are reported which show the following. NH3 rather than NH4+ is the substrate of the enzyme. The apparent Km of NH3 for the purified enzyme is about 38 microM. The apparent Km for NH3 measured in intact isolated mitochondria is about 13 microM. This value was obtained for both coupled and uncoupled mitochondria and was unchanged when the rate of carbamoyl phosphate synthesis was increased 2-fold by incubating uncoupled mitochondria in the presence of 5 mM-N-acetylglutamate. According to the literature, the concentration of NH3 in liver is well below the measured apparent Km. On the basis of this and previous work we conclude that, quantitatively, changes in liver [NH3] and [ornithine] are likely to be the most important factors in the fast regulation of synthesis of carbamoyl phosphate and urea. This conclusion is consistent with all available evidence obtained with isolated mitochondria, isolated hepatocytes, perfused liver and whole animals.[1]


  1. The apparent Km of ammonia for carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (ammonia) in situ. Cohen, N.S., Kyan, F.S., Kyan, S.S., Cheung, C.W., Raijman, L. Biochem. J. (1985) [Pubmed]
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