1. A method is described for extracting separately mitochondrial and extramitochondrial enzymes from fat-cells prepared by collagenase digestion from rat epididymal fat-pads. The following distribution of enzymes has been observed (with the total activities of the enzymes as units/mg of fat-cell DNA at 25°C given in parenthesis). Exclusively mitochondrial enzymes: glutamate dehydrogenase (1.8), NAD–isocitrate dehydrogenase (0.5), citrate synthase (5.2), pyruvate carboxylase (3.0); exclusively extramitochondrial enzymes: glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (5.8), 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (5.2), NADP–malate dehydrogenase (11.0), ATP–citrate lyase (5.1); enzymes present in both mitochondrial and extramitochondrial compartments: NADP–isocitrate dehydrogenase (3.7), NAD–malate dehydrogenase (330), aconitate hydratase (1.1), carnitine acetyltransferase (0.4), acetyl-CoA synthetase (1.0), aspartate aminotransferase (1.7), alanine aminotransferase (6.1). The mean DNA content of eight preparations of fat-cells was 109μg/g dry weight of cells. 2. Mitochondria showing respiratory control ratios of 3–6 with pyruvate, about 3 with succinate and P/O ratios of approaching 3 and 2 respectively have been isolated from fat-cells. From studies of rates of oxygen uptake and of swelling in iso-osmotic solutions of ammonium salts, it is concluded that fat-cell mitochondria are permeable to the monocarboxylic acids, pyruvate and acetate; that in the presence of phosphate they are permeable to malate and succinate and to a lesser extent oxaloacetate but not fumarate; and that in the presence of both malate and phosphate they are permeable to citrate, isocitrate and 2-oxoglutarate. In addition, isolated fat-cell mitochondria have been found to oxidize acetyl l-carnitine and, slowly, l-glycerol 3-phosphate. 3. It is concluded that the major means of transport of acetyl units into the cytoplasm for fatty acid synthesis is as citrate. Extensive transport as glutamate, 2-oxoglutarate and isocitrate, as acetate and as acetyl l-carnitine appears to be ruled out by the low activities of mitochondrial aconitate hydratase, mitochondrial acetyl-CoA hydrolyase and carnitine acetyltransferase respectively. Pathways whereby oxaloacetate generated in the cytoplasm during fatty acid synthesis by ATP–citrate lyase may be returned to mitochondria for further citrate synthesis are discussed. 4. It is also concluded that fat-cells contain pathways that will allow the excess of reducing power formed in the cytoplasm when adipose tissue is incubated in glucose and insulin to be transferred to mitochondria as l-glycerol 3-phosphate or malate. When adipose tissue is incubated in pyruvate alone, reducing power for fatty acid, l-glycerol 3-phosphate and lactate formation may be transferred to the cytoplasm as citrate and malate.
- © 1970 The Biochemical Society