Journal of lipid research

Subcellular localization and physiological role of alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase.

PMID 11060359


alpha-Methylacyl-CoA racemase plays an important role in the beta-oxidation of branched-chain fatty acids and fatty acid derivatives because it catalyzes the conversion of several (2R)-methyl-branched-chain fatty acyl-CoAs to their (S)-stereoisomers. Only stereoisomers with the 2-methyl group in the (S)-configuration can be degraded via beta-oxidation. Patients with a deficiency of alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase accumulate in their plasma pristanic acid and the bile acid intermediates di- and trihydroxycholestanoic acid, which are all substrates of the peroxisomal beta-oxidation system. Subcellular fractionation experiments, however, revealed that both in humans and rats alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase is bimodally distributed to both the peroxisome and the mitochondrion. Our findings show that the peroxisomal and mitochondrial enzymes are produced from the same gene and that, as a consequence, the bimodal distribution pattern must be the result of differential targeting of the same gene product. In addition, we investigated the physiological role of the enzyme in the mitochondrion. Both in vitro studies with purified heterologously expressed protein and in vivo studies in fibroblasts of patients with an alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase deficiency revealed that the mitochondrial enzyme plays a crucial role in the mitochondrial beta-oxidation of the breakdown products of pristanic acid byconverting (2R,6)-dimethylheptanoyl-CoA to its (S)-stereoisomer.

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Pristanic acid solution, mixture of isomers, ethanol solution, ≥97% (GC)