The regulation of succinyl-CoA:acetoacetyl-CoA transferase (CoA transferase) has been studied in 8 rat hepatoma cell lines. Compared with normal rat hepatocytes, which have almost nondetectable activity of the enzyme, the hepatoma cell lines have a wide range of expression of CoA transferase activity, from as low as 45 nmol/min/mg to as high as 960 nmol/min/mg. Western blotting showed that the different levels of CoA transferase activity were due to differing amounts of the enzyme in the cells. This was further attributed to the varying amounts of the enzyme synthesized in the cells as monitored by l-[35S]methionine labeling followed by immunoprecipitation. To study further the differential expression of CoA transferase in the hepatoma cell lines, the relative quantity of functional CoA-transferase mRNA in the cells was measured by in vitro translation. The results showed that the levels of functional CoA transferase mRNA detected were consistent with the differences in the enzyme activity in the cells. Since CoA transferase is the key enzyme responsible for the utilization of ketone bodies as an alternative energy source, the expression of CoA transferase in hepatoma cells may play a role in energy production.

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This work is supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA-21103 [R. L.] and University of Alabama Research Grant Committee Grant [P. C.].

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