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

Stimulation of ammonia production and excretion in the rabbit by inorganic phosphate. Study of control mechanisms.

The purpose of this study was to clarify the mechanism (s) responsible for regulation of ammonia production and excretion in the rabbit. The normally low ammonia excretion rate during acute metabolic acidosis was stimulated acutely and increased approximately ninefold after infusion of sodium phosphate, but remained low if sodium sulphate or Tris was substituted for phosphate. Ammonia production was increased significantly by phosphate in rabbit renal cortex slices and in isolated renal cortex mitochondria. In isolated mitochondria, mersalyl, an inhibitor of both the phosphate/hydroxyl and phosphate/dicarboxylate mitochondrial carriers, inhibited the phosphate-induced stimulation, indicating that phosphate must enter the mitochondrion for stimulation. A malate/phosphate exchange seemed to be involved since N-ethylmaleimide, an inhibitor of the phosphate/hydroxyl exchange, did not inhibit phosphate-stimulated ammonia production, whereas there was inhibition by 2-n-butylmalonate, a competitive inhibitor of the dicarboxylate carrier. Phosphate itself was not essential since malonate stimulated ammoniagenesis in the absence of added phosphate. Similarly, citrate stimulated ammoniagenesis in isolated mitochondria in the absence of inorganic phosphate provided that it induced L-malate exit on the citrate transporter associated with inhibition of citrate oxidation by fluoroacetate. Similar results were also seen in mitochondria from rat renal cortex. A fall in mitochondrial alpha-ketoglutarate level resulted in an increase in ammonia production. This could be achieved directly with malonate or indirectly via L-malate exit. Simultaneous measurements of glutamate showed that the rate of ammonia production was reciprocally related to the glutamate content. We conclude that phosphate-induced stimulation of ammoniagenesis in the rabbit kidney is mediated by removal of glutamate, the feedback inhibitor of phosphate-dependent glutaminase. Glutamate removal is linked to phosphate-induced dicarboxylate exit across the mitochondrial membrane.[1]


  1. Stimulation of ammonia production and excretion in the rabbit by inorganic phosphate. Study of control mechanisms. Yu, H.L., Giammarco, R., Goldstein, M.B., Stinebaugh, D.J., Halperin, M.L. J. Clin. Invest. (1976) [Pubmed]
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