The activity of lysine ?-ketoglutarate reductase (LKR), the initial enzyme in the principal pathway of lysine catabolism, is a primary determinant of whole-body lysine status. Past research indicated that LKR activity was predominantly hepatic; recent in vivo data suggest that other tissues can also catabolize lysine. The hypothesis of this investigation was that lysine catabolism takes place in extrahepatic tissues in pigs and that the enzymes involved may be subject to inhibition or activation. Using mitochondria from various tissues of market-age pigs, the activities of LKR and saccharopine dehydrogenase were measured. Liver mitochondria had the highest LKR activity, and the enzyme was subject to substrate inhibition. Mitochondria from the muscle, kidney, heart, and intestinal epithelial cells all had measurable LKR activity. The LKR activity was significantly inhibited by a variety of compounds including saccharopine, ?-aminoadipate, ?-ketoadipate, 5-hydroxy-l-lysine, and several metals. Oxidation of (14)C-lysine to (14)CO(2) was demonstrated in mitochondria isolated from the liver, muscle, and intestinal epithelial cells. Western blotting confirmed the presence of the ?-aminoadipate ?-semialdehyde synthase protein in some extrahepatic tissues. These data show a significant capacity for lysine degradation in these extrahepatic tissues, most notably in cells of the intestine and muscle. These tissues should be considered important contributors to whole-body lysine catabolism.
Diphtheria toxin (DT) has been utilized as a prospective anti-cancer agent for the targeted delivery of cytotoxic therapy to otherwise untreatable neoplasia. DT is an extremely potent toxin for which the entry of a single molecule into a cell can be lethal. DT has been targeted to cancer cells by deleting the cell receptor-binding domain and combining the remaining catalytic portion with targeting proteins that selectively bind to the surface of cancer cells. It has been assumed that "receptorless" DT cannot bind to and kill cells. In the present study, we report that "receptorless" recombinant DT385 is in fact cytotoxic to a variety of cancer cell lines.
The leaky, heterogeneous vasculature of human tumors prevents the even distribution of systemic drugs within cancer tissues. However, techniques for studying vascular delivery systems in vivo often require complex mammalian models and time-consuming, surgical protocols. The developing chicken embryo is a well-established model for human cancer that is easily accessible for tumor imaging. To assess this model for the in vivo analysis of tumor permeability, human tumors were grown on the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), a thin vascular membrane which overlays the growing chick embryo. The real-time movement of small fluorescent dextrans through the tumor vasculature and surrounding tissues were used to measure vascular leak within tumor xenografts. Dextran extravasation within tumor sites was selectively enhanced an interleukin-2 (IL-2) peptide fragment or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF treatment increased vascular leak in the tumor core relative to surrounding normal tissue and increased doxorubicin uptake in human tumor xenografts. This new system easily visualizes vascular permeability changes in vivo and suggests that vascular permeability may be manipulated to improve chemotherapeutic targeting to tumors.
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