Washington University in St. Louis

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Metabolomics to elucidate novel biochemical mechanisms of disease
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Transport-Exclusion Pharmacology to Localize Lactate Dehydrogenase Activity within Cells

Niu X, Chen YJ, Crawford PA, Patti GJ
Transport-Exclusion Pharmacology to Localize Lactate Dehydrogenase Activity within Cells
Cancer & Metabolism, (2018) 6:19, 2018
doi:10.1186/s40170-018-0192-5

Background Recent in vitro and in vivo work has shown that lactate provides an important source of carbon for metabolic reactions in cancer cell mitochondria. An interesting question is whether lactate is oxidized by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in the cytosol and/or in mitochondria. Since metabolic processes in the cytosol and mitochondria are affected by redox balance, the location of LDH may have important regulatory implications in cancer metabolism.
Methods Within most mammalian cells, metabolic processes are physically separated by membrane-bound compartments. Our general understanding of this spatial organization and its role in cellular function, however, suffers from the limited number of techniques to localize enzymatic activities within a cell. Here, we describe an approach to assess metabolic compartmentalization by monitoring the activity of pharmacological inhibitors that cannot be transported into specific cellular compartments.
Results Oxamate, which chemically resembles pyruvate, is transported into mitochondria and inhibits LDH activity in purified mitochondria. GSK-2837808A, in contrast, is a competitive inhibitor of NAD, which cannot cross the inner mitochondrial membrane. GSK-2837808A did not inhibit the LDH activity of intact mitochondria, but GSK-2837808A did inhibit LDH activity after the inner mitochondrial membrane was disrupted.
Conclusions Our results are consistent with some mitochondrial LDH that is accessible to oxamate, but inaccessible to GSK-2837808A until mitochondria are homogenized. This strategy of using inhibitors with selective access to subcellular compartments, which we refer to as transport-exclusion pharmacology, is broadly applicable to localize other metabolic reactions within cells.

Washington University, Departments of Chemistry, Genetics, and Medicine. Saint Louis, Missouri 63110 USA