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

Effects of intracellular amino acid concentrations, cyclic AMP, and dexamethasone on lysosomal proteolysis in primary cultures of perinatal rat hepatocytes.

We have studied factors regulating the rate of protein degradation in cultured hepatocytes obtained from 17-day-old fetal, 7-day-old suckling, and 20-day-old weanling rats. At all three stages of development 60-70% of protein degradation was sensitive to inhibition by amino acids and 3-methyladenine, an inhibitor of macroautophagy, indicating a major role of the lysosomes in proteolysis under these conditions. A combination of dibutyryl cyclic AMP and dexamethasone strongly stimulated proteolysis in hepatocytes from weanling, but not from fetal and suckling rats. The stimulatory effect of these compounds was eliminated at high amino acid concentrations in the culture medium. Cultured perinatal hepatocytes responded to exposure to dibutyryl cyclic AMP and dexamethasone by de novo synthesis of mRNA for carbamoyl-phosphate synthase and for phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, demonstrating that the developmental change in the effect of dibutyryl cyclic AMP and dexamethasone on proteolysis was due to a developmental change in the regulation of proteolysis. An analysis of the changes in intracellular amino acid concentrations in response to variations in the extracellular amino acid concentrations at all three stages of development showed that of all amino acids that could be identified, only Ile, Leu, Lys, Phe, and Tyr are implicated as possible regulators of hepatic proteolysis. Dibutyryl cyclic AMP and dexamethasone did not affect the intracellular concentrations of these amino acids, showing that hormonal regulation of proteolysis is not mediated by changes in intracellular concentrations of these amino acids. It is concluded that the lack of sensitivity of the proteolytic system to catabolic hormones in the period around birth, combined with higher circulating plasma amino acid concentrations, are mechanisms contributing to the low rate of intrahepatic proteolysis in vivo in the perinatal period and thus to the rapid growth of the liver in this period.[1]


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