[alpha-13C]Glycine was incubated with suspensions of human erythrocytes under special buffer conditions to enrich specifically intracellular glutathione with 13C. The metabolically active cells were then subjected to 13C n.m.r. spectroscopy in which the longitudinal relaxation time(s) (T1) and nuclear Overhauser enhancement(s) of the free glycine and glutathione were measured. With the appropriate analysis, assuming the molecules to be isotropic rotors, intracellular rotational correlation times were calculated. Using these data together with the Stokes-Einstein equation, viscosity and translational diffusion coefficients were calculated. The results were compared with those from cell lysates and extracts. The cytosolic microviscosity probed by glutathione was only 1.9 +/- 0.3 times that of saline, suggesting, therefore, that most enzyme reactions involving this solute are not likely to be diffusion-controlled inside the erythrocyte.
- © 1983 London: The Biochemical Society