Alligator Metabolism Studies on Chemical Reactions in Vivo by Roland A. Coulson, Thomas Hernandez

By Roland A. Coulson, Thomas Hernandez

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This would mean that the F factor would be a major determinant of reaction rate in every enzyme catalyzed reaction from glucose to C 0 2 and H 2 0 , from amino acids to C 0 2 , H 2 0 and N H 3 , and from fats to C 0 2 and H 2 0 . In a similar fashion, active transport, protein turnover, ion pumps such as Na-K-ATPase, and perhaps even enzyme molecular activity (turnover number) would be affected by flow (see below). If the above comments seem radical, they are not for they merely express what is common knowledge.

It would be of interest to test the effect of an artificially imposed blood flow. If the organisms could be re­ strained in some manner so that they were immobi­ lized, and if a pump could force nutrient fluid over them, one suspects that the rate of the internal chemi­ cal reactions would be accelerated. " To generalize, the quantity of intracellular enzymes is constant but the rate of the reactions is variable, increasing at high blood flow rates and de­ creasing at low flows. The greater the flow, the more probable a collision between an enzyme and its sub­ strate and the faster the reactions.

When the alligator is metabolizing aerobically, intracellular enzymes are present in great excess in even the smallest and the degree of excess increases with increasing body size. The metabolic rate is too low in any but the smallest alligators to provide enough energy for significant work, forcing the alligator to rely almost entirely on anaerobic catabolism when energy demand is in­ creased greatly. At any blood flow the affinity of the enzymes for their respective substrates is much the same in the alligator, rat, dog, turtle and chameleon.

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