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

Metabolism of arginine in lactating rat mammary gland.

Significant activities of the four enzymes needed to convert arginine into proline and glutamate (arginase, ornithine aminotransferase, pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase and pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase) develop co-ordinately in lactating rat mammary glands in proportion to the increased production of milk. No enzymes were detected to carry out the reactions of proline oxidation or reduction of glutamate to pyrroline-5-carboxylate. Minces of the gland converted ornithine into proline and into glutamate plus glutamine. These conversions increased during the cycle of lactation in proportion to the increased milk production and to the content of the necessary enzymes. The minced gland did not convert labelled ornithine into citrulline, confirming the absence from the gland of a functioning urea cycle, and did not convert labelled proline or glutamate into ornithine. A metabolic flow of labelled arginine to proline and glutamate in mammary gland was confirmed in intact animals with experiments during which the specific radioactivity of proline in plasma remained below that of the proline being formed from labelled arginine within the gland. It was concluded that arginase in this tissue had a metabolic role in the biosynthesis of extra proline and glutamate needed for synthesis of milk proteins.[1]


  1. Metabolism of arginine in lactating rat mammary gland. Mezl, V.A., Knox, W.E. Biochem. J. (1977) [Pubmed]
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