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Subcellular Localization Of Superoxide Dismutase In Rat Liver

C Peeters-Joris, A M Vandevoorde, P Baudhuin

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The subcellular localization of superoxide dismutase was investigated in rat liver homogenates. Most of the superoxide dismutase activity is present in the soluble fraction (84%), the rest being associated with mitochondria. No indications for the occurrence of superoxide dismutase in other subcellular structures, particularly in peroxisomes, was found. Mitochondrial activity is not due to adsorption, since the sedimentable activity is essentially latent. Subfractionation of mitochondria by hypo-osmotic shock and sonication shows that half of the mitochondrial superoxide dismutase activity is localized in the intermembrane space, the rest of the enzyme being a component of the matrix space. In non-ionic media the matrix enzyme is, however, adsorbed to the inner membrane, from which it can be desorbed by low (0.04M) concentration of KCl. Superoxide dismutase activity was found in all rat organs investigated. Maximal activity of the enzyme is observed in liver, adrenals and kidney. In adrenals, the highest specific activity is associated with the medulla.