Branched-chain amino acids are toxic in excess but have to be conserved for protein synthesis. This is accomplished in large part by control of the activity of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex by phosphorylation/dephosphorylation. Regulation of the activity of the hepatic enzyme appears particularly important, at least in rats, since an exceptional high activity of the complex in this tissue makes the liver the primary clearing house for excess branched-chain α-keto acids released by other tissues. The degree to which the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex is inactivated by phosphorylation is determined by the activity of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase kinase, which is itself regulated by allosteric effectors as well as factors that affect its level of expression. Well established among these are the α-keto acid produced by leucine transamination, which is a potent inhibitor of the kinase, and starvation for dietary protein, which causes increased expression of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase kinase. The latter finding resulted in the working hypothesis that nutrients and hormones regulate expression of the branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase kinase. Evidence has been obtained for the involvement of thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids and ligands for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α. Thyroid hormone induces, whereas glucocorticoids and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α ligands repress, expression of the kinase. Increased blood levels of thyroid hormone are proposed to be responsible for increased expression of branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase kinase in animals starved for protein.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journal of Nutrition|
|State||Published - Mar 19 2001|
- Branched-chain amino acids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Food Science