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Control of cell protein catabolism in rat liver. Effects of starvation and administration of cycloheximide

, : Control of cell protein catabolism in rat liver. Effects of starvation and administration of cycloheximide. Biochemical Journal 206(2): 395-405

1. The loss of liver protein occurring in rats starved for 24 h was largely prevented by the administration of repeated doses of cycloheximide, an inhibitor of protein synthesis. Similar effects were produced on tubulin, a 'fixed' liver protein. 2. Starvation accelerated, whereas cycloheximide markedly lowered, the rate of protein radioactivity decay after labelling with [3H]valine or [14C]bicarbonate, indicating that changes in catabolic rates played an important role in the above regulations of liver protein mass. 3. The total activity of several lysosomal hydrolases showed little change in livers of starved rats, but a marked progressive decline developed after the administration of cycloheximide, particularly in the activities of cathepsins B, D and L as well as acid ribonuclease. There was no evidence that these changes might be due to endogenous inhibitors (at least for cathepsin B activity, which fell to less than 30% of the control values) or enzyme leakage into the bloodstream; rather, plasma beta-galactosidase and beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase activities fell progressively during the cycloheximide treatment. 4. Endogenous proteolytic rates, measured in vitro by incubating subcellular preparations from livers prelabelled in vivo with [3H]valine, were markedly decreased in cycloheximide-treated animals. 5. The osmotic fragility of hepatic lysosomes, appreciably enhanced in starved animals, after cycloheximide treatment was found to be even lower than in fed controls. 6. The present data are consistent with the view that in starved animals the loss of liver protein is mostly accounted for by increased breakdown, due, in part at least, to enhanced autophagocytosis. 7. Cycloheximide largely counteracted these effects of starvation, altering the liver from being 'poised' in a proteolytic direction to a protein-sparing condition. The present data suggest that, besides suppression of the autophagic processes, a decrease in the lysosomal proteolytic enzyme system may also play a role in this regulation, and they seem to provide further circumstantial evidence for the existence of co-ordinating mechanisms between protein synthesis and degradation.


PMID: 7150250

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