John Duncan, M.Sc. Biology 1988

Role of enzyme binding in muscle metabolism of the goldfish



Regulation of glycolytic metabolism in muscle by the reversible association of enzymes with the particulate fraction of the cell was assessed in heart and white skeletal muscle of the goldfish Carassius auratus. Three physiological states were compared: rested aerobic controls, 21 h of anoxia exposure in water bubbled with N2 and CO, and exhaustive swimming. Heart muscle responded to the anoxia exposure with an increase in the percentage bound for phosphofructokinase (PFK), aldolase, and pyruvate kinase, the greatest increase being for PFK (from 35 to 48%). When fish swam to exhaustion, however, no changes in the percentage bound occurred for the eight enzymes assayed in heart. In white muscle neither anoxia nor exhaustive swimming altered the binding of the eight enzymes to the particulate fraction of the cell, except for a significant decrease in the percentage of alcohol dehydrogenase bound in anoxic muscle. PFK binding was particularly high in white muscle (63-72% bound, assessed by two methods). PFK binding was sensitive to pH in both organs, with binding increasing as pH decreased. This suggests that binding of PFK could be enhanced when metabolism is highly dependent on glycolytic ATP production due to the fall in cellular pH as a result of metabolic acidosis.

Doris Schafhauser, M.Sc. Chemistry 1990

Immobilization of Amyloglucosidase onto Granular Chicken Bone



Amyloglucosidase was immobilized onto granular chicken bone (BIOBONE TM) by noncovalent interactions. The amount of activity bound relative to an equal amount of free enzyme was 13.6+0.4%. The estimated specific activity for amyloglucosidase decreased from 75.3+0.8 to 43.5+9.6 U/mg protein upon immobilization. The Km value of the bone-immobilized enzyme using glycogen as substrate increased from 3.04+0.38 mg/mL (free) to 9.04+l.51 mg/mL (immobilized), but Km showed no change upon immobilization when starches were used as substrates. A decrease in Vmax values occurred upon enzyme immobilization for all substrates, but this largely reflected the percentage of enzyme initially bound to the bone. Immobilization also improved enzyme stability in the presence of various additives (e.g., detergent, KCl, and ethanol) or under low or high pH reaction conditions. Bound amyloglucosidase maintained high activity (greater than 90%) following five cycles of continuous use at moderate (23°C) and high (55°C) temperatures. Data derived from Lineweaver-Burk and Arrhenius plots indicated that substrate and product diffusion limitation were minimal.

Elizabeth Russell, M.Sc. Chemistry 1993

Regulation of enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism during anoxia in the salt marsh bivalve Geukensia demissus



The effects of anoxia exposure (2 or 12 h at 5°C) on the tissue-specific responses by enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism were analyzed in mantle, gill, hepatopancreas and adductor muscle of the intertidal bivalve Geukensia demissus demissus. Reversible enzyme phosphorylation has been identified in other species of marine molluscs as a mechanism for coordinating the suppression of metabolic rate and the redirection of carbon into fermentative pathways under anoxic conditions. The present study shows patterns of response to anoxia by five enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism including glycogen synthetase (GS) and pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) whose responses to anoxia have not before been analyzed in marine molluscs. Anoxia-induced changes in properties, consistent with reversible phosphorylation modification of the enzymes, were found for pyruvate kinase (PK) and pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) in all tissues and in selected tissues for glycogen phosphorylase (GP) and GS. However, phosphofructokinase did not appear to be modified in any tissue during anoxia. Within 2 h of anoxia exposure, PK showed a sharp drop in the activity ratio (at subsaturating vs. saturating PEP concentrations) that indicated a stable modification of enzyme Km for PEP; for example, in gill the ratio (determined at 0.75 & 7.5 mM PEP) fell from 0.39 + 0.08 for aerobic controls to 0.08 + 0.01 after 2 h anoxia. The percentage of PDH in the active a form also dropped significantly in anoxia from 80-84 % a in controls to 65-75% a in anoxic tissues. Changes in both of these enzymes are consistent with anoxia-induced metabolic rate suppression. By contrast, anoxia exposure increased GP activity in gill and adductor muscle indicating a need for increased glycogenolysis during anoxia in these tissues. Total phosphorylase (a + b) activity increased in both tissues as also did the %a in adductor; for example, in adductor, active GPa content rose from 0.09 + 0.02 U/g wet weight in controls to 0.24 + 0.01 U/gww after 2 h and 0.16 + 0.02 U/gww after 12 h anoxia exposure. GS behaved oppositely in hepatopancreas showing a significant decrease in total activity in 12 h anoxic tissue but GS was unaffected by anoxia in gill or adductor muscle. In mantle, oppositely directed changes in total GS activity and the % active resulted in no change in the activity of the active I form during anoxia.

Donna Douglas, M.Sc. Chemistry 1993

Anoxia induces changes in translatable mRNA populations in turtle organs: a possible adaptave strategy for anaerobiosis



The effects of anoxic submergence (16 h at 15°C) on cellular mRNA contents were assessed in five organs of anoxia tolerant turtles Trachemys scripta elegans. Poly(A)+ RNA was extracted from liver, red and white skeletal muscle, kidney and heart of control and anoxic turtles, as well as from heart and kidney of turtles allowed 24 h aerobic recovery (at 15°C) after anoxia exposure. Poly(A)+ RNA content increased by 30 % in white muscle from anoxic turtles relative to control animals but was unchanged by metabolic state in other organs. Extracted mRNA was translated in vitro in a wheat germ lysate system and the 35S-labelled polypeptides that were produced were separated by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Overall translational activity of the mRNA pool [cpm 35S-methionine incorporated per microgram poly(A)+ RNA] was altered by anoxia exposure in 3 organs, increasing by 38 and 18 % in liver and kidney and decreasing by 42 % in red muscle. Anoxia exposure also led to qualitative changes in the protein products that resulted from in vitro translation. SDS-PAGE revealed the presence of a novel 19.5 kDa polypeptide in liver of anoxia-exposed animals as well as increased amounts of two other proteins at 28.6 and 79.9 kDa. In heart, a new translation product of 26.8 kDa appeared in anoxia, and in kidney a 32.8 kDa polypeptide was produced during the aerobic recovery period after anoxia exposure. Anoxia stimulated the appearance of a 37.5 kDa protein in red skeletal muscle but anoxic red muscle also lost proteins of 40, 32, and 28.2 kDa that were present in aerobic controls. Anoxia exposure did not change the proteins produced by in vitro translation in white muscle. The results suggest that anoxia exposure triggers rapid cellular responses in T. s. elegans that modify translatable mRNA populations in organs, leading to new protein transcripts. This response may be one of the important molecular adaptations that support the natural anoxia tolerance of this species.

Marc A. de la Roche, M. Sc. Chemistry, 1995

Metabolic adjustment and biochemical adaptation to torpor in mammalian hibernators.



Hibernating mammals have evolved the ability to lower their metabolic rate in response to temperate conditions and/or lack of food and water. At the level of enzyme control, this is accomplished by the coordinated suppression of all metabolic processes and the rearrangement of metabolic flux to maximize fuel stores. The quantification of 32 enzyme activities in 5 tissues of hibernating versus euthermic golden-mantled ground squirrels (Spermophilus lateralis) demonstrated a decreased potential in glycolysis, biosynthetic processes and carbon entry from glycolysis into the TCA cycle relative to an increased potential in fatty acid oxidation during hibernation. This was further supported by studies on ketone body metabolism, a product of fatty acid oxidation. Kinetic characterization of beta-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (betaDH) and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH) established unique functional adaptations of these enzymes in S. lateralis and Cynomys ludovicianus. Using temperature and chemical denaturants as probes, purified G3PDH from a hibernator was found to have a greater chemical and thermal stability, and maintained both structural and functional integrity at lower temperatures relative to the enzyme from rabbits. These results purport a unique metabolic state during hibernation and demonstrate both structural and functional adaptations of hibernator enzymes to cold stress.


Tina Pannunzio, M.Sc. Chemistry 1994

Antioxidant defenses and lipid peroxidation during anoxia stress and aerobic recovery in the marine gastropod, Littorina littorea



The effect of anoxia exposure (6 d under N2 gas at 5°C) and aerobic recovery (at 5°C) on the antioxidant defenses of the marine periwinkle, Littorina littorea L., were assessed in hepatopancreas and foot muscle. In hepatopancreas, the maximal activities of antioxidant enzymes clearly responded to changes in oxygen availability. Activities of five enzymes were suppressed (to 44-70 % of controls) in hepatopancreas during anoxia exposure: superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), total glutathione peroxidase (GPox), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione-S-transferase. When returned to aerobic conditions, activities of the glutathione-related enzymes in hepatopancreas all rose again in concert reestablishing control levels within 12 h whereas SOD and CAT activities remained suppressed even after 24 h recovery. In foot muscle only SOD activity decreased during anoxia (to 56 % of control) whereas during aerobic recovery GPox activity decreased by about 85 % and SOD, CAT and GR activities rose. Anoxia exposure stimulated an increase in the amount of the low molecular weight antioxidant, glutathione, in both organs; total glutathione (GSH + 2 GSSG) was 2.8- and 1.6-fold higher than control levels in hepatopancreas and foot, respectively. Elevated GSH may be needed when oxygen is reintroduced or synthesis of the tripeptide may be favored under the reducing conditions of anoxia. Total glutathione content of both tissues continued to rise during aerobic recovery but only after 24 h recovery did a significant increase in the GSH/GSSG ratio occur. The changes in enzymatic and metabolite antioxidant defenses during anoxia and recovery suggest that these are naturally adaptable in response to changes (or anticipated changes) in the generation of oxygen free radicals within tissues, a feature that could serve the natural lifestyle of this species which experiences cyclic periods of oxygen availability/deprivation with the changing tides. To determine whether antioxidant defenses were responding to free radical damage to tissue macromolecules, peroxidative damage to lipids was also measured by three methods that quantify damage at different stages of lipid degradation: initial (conjugated dienes), middle (lipid hydroperoxides), and terminal (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances [TBARS] measure breakdown products such as malondialdehyde). Hepatopancreas showed no change in either initial or terminal products of radical attack over anoxia/recovery (6 d anoxia followed by 0.5, 1, 5 or 12 h aerobic recovery) whereas the level of lipid hydroperoxides was strongly suppressed during anoxia and remained low throughout recovery. Thus, the antioxidant defenses of hepatopancreas appear to be fully capable of handling an increase in oxygen free radical generation associated with the reintroduction of oxygen after anoxia. Foot muscle showed a different response with increased damage detected at both initial and middle stages during anoxia exposure. However, lipid hydroperoxide levels were reduced again within 30 min of recovery whereas levels of conjugated dienes returned to control values after 5 h. TBARS were largely unaffected in foot suggesting that peroxidative damage can be repaired in the tissue so that terminal breakdown products do not accumulate.

Steve Greenway M.Sc. Biology 1995

The Effect of Prolonged Anoxia on Enzyme Activities in Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) at Different Seasons



The effect of prolonged anoxia (96 h under a N2 atmosphere) during either winter (November) or summer (July) was investigated by measuring the maximal activities of 20 metabolic enzymes in gill, mantle, hepatopancreas, and phasic and catch adductor muscles of the oyster, Crassostrea virginica. The enzymes analyzed are involved in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, the pentose phosphate shunt, anaplerotic reactions of the TCA cycle, and phosphagen/adenylate metabolism. The data demonstrate that oyster metabolism is influenced by both long-term seasonal change and by shorter-term environmental insult (anoxia). Seasonal changes were concentrated among enzymes involved in glycogen metabolism whereas the prominent response to anoxia was suppression of PK activity. Anoxia exposure induced tissue-specific changes in enzyme activities suggesting a substantial metabolic reorganization involving both coarse controls on enzyme amount and reversible covalent modification. In addition, the effects of anoxia on enzymes of intermediary metabolism were seasonally dependent and more widespread in the winter. These results demonstrate the interaction of two environmental variables (season, anoxia) and suggest the importance of season as a modifying factor in the anoxic response.

Dawn H. Lobsinger, M.Sc. Biology, 1995

Differential gene expression in response to sub-zero temperatures in the freeze tolerant wood frog, Rana sylvatica



Exposure to subzero freezing temperatures causes a variety of biochemical changes in the freeze-tolerant wood frog, Rana sylvatica. Cellular responses to freezing commence a mere five minutes after the initial formation of epidermal ice. To obtain a general overview of differential protein expression in response to freezing, in vitro translation of mRNA isolated from tissues (liver, brain, heart, muscle, kidney and gut) was conducted and compared for control (5°C), frozen (24 hours at -2.5°C) and recovered (24 hour thaw at 5°C) wood frogs; 35S-labeled proteins were separated by sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and located by fluorography. Results showed changes in the translatable mRNA population of freezing exposed wood frogs. Differential protein expression was greatest in the comparison of liver from control-versus frozen frogs but other tissues each showed one or two differentially expressed proteins in either the frozen or thawed states. Subsequently, isolation of a specific cDNA clone, the R. sylvatica liver glucose transporter (glut2), was attempted via heterologous probing of the liver cDNA library from frozen frogs with a human glut2 cDNA fragment. Potential clones were chosen from a primary screening and further purification was achieved with secondary and tertiary screens. Analysis of the partial nucleic acid sequence of fifteen potential positive clones using the GenBank database did not reveal the presence of the wood frog glut2 cDNA. In another effort to find a wood frog glut2, TA cloning, a PCR based method, was attempted. A PCR product was amplified using a variety of degenerate primers and one product was cloned into a T-vector. The insert of the resulting recombinant plasmid was sequenced and comparison of this with the GenBank database did not reveal its identity as the liver glucose transporter.


Sylvie A.J. Lautru, M.Sc. Chemistry, 1997

Purification and characterization of the glycolytic enzymes hexokinase and pyruvate kinase from Eurosta solidaginis



Larvae of the insect Eurosta solidaginis spend the winter in galls on goldenrod plants and survive low subzero temperatures by allowing the formation of extracellular ice within their bodies. Different mechanisms are used to allow survival of these extreme conditions: some ensure that the physical integrity of cells is maintained whereas others suppress metabolism so that only basal metabolic functions subsist. Glycolysis, which is at an intersection of several important metabolic pathways, must be subjected to fine regulation to allow the synthesis of the two cryoprotectants of the larvae, glycerol and sorbitol, during the autumn and as well as to facilitate metabolic depression during the winter. In this study, hexokinase (EC and pyruvate kinase (EC, two regulatory enzymes of glycolysis, were examined. Hexokinase was partially purified and kinetic studies were performed both at 6°C and 25°C and in the presence and the absence of the cryoprotectants of the insect, glycerol and sorbitol. The data indicate that besides a role in the regulation of glycolysis, hexokinase is probably involved in the control of the synthesis and catabolism of the two polyols. Pyruvate kinase (PK) was purified to near homogeneity and kinetic and structural studies were performed on the purified preparations. Kinetic studies showed that the activity of PK was reduced at cold temperatures and in the presence of the two polyols, with an increase in inhibition by citrate and the loss of activation by fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. Fluorescence and heat denaturation studies underlined the importance of the cryoprotectants, especially sorbitol, for the stabilization of the enzyme.


Li Zhenhong, M.Sc. Biology 2004.

Gene expression supporting freeze tolerance in the wood frog, Rana sylvatica


Abstract :

Natural freezing survival by the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, is supported by multiple metabolic and gene expression adaptations. The present study explored the responses by protein chaperones, both heat shock proteins (Hsps) and glucose-regulated proteins (Grps), as well as the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF-1α), to freezing and two component stresses of freezing (anoxia, dehydration) in seven organs of wood frogs. Sequence analysis of Grp78, Grp94 and HIF-1α found high identity between the frog proteins and other species but HIF-1α showed unique amino acid substitutions that might aid low temperature function. RT-PCR and Western blotting were used to monitor mRNA transcript levels and protein levels, respectively. All three stresses stimulated up-regulation of HIF-1α at transcriptional and translational levels in liver. Other organs showed stress-specific responses and time course studies showed maximum hif-1α mRNA levels by 2 hours of freezing which suggests that hypoxia-induced proteins may contribute tocryoprotection. Levels of all seven shock proteins (Grp78, Grp94, Hsp110, Hsc70, Hsp60, Hsp40, Hsp10) rose during freezing in liver; six responded in skeletal muscle and kidney, and four in heart. The distribution of shock proteins and HIF-1α between liver cytosolic and nuclear fractions also changed during freezing. Most shock proteins responded to anoxia stress in liver and to dehydration stress in skin but other organs showed mixed responses to these stresses. The mitochondrial chaperones Hsp60 and Hsp10 were consistently elevated during freezing and/or anoxia in most organs. Up-regulation of chaperones during freezing suggests that they play a cryoprotective role in stabilizing proteins against the multiple stresses on cells imposed by extracellular freezing.