Two research paths for probing the roles of oxygen in metabolic regulation

P.W. Hochachka
1999 Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research  
Tissues such as skeletal and cardiac muscles must sustain very largescale changes in ATP turnover rate during equally large changes in work. In many skeletal muscles these changes can exceed 100-fold. Examination of a number of cell and whole-organism level systems identifies ATP concentration as a key parameter of the interior milieu that is nearly universally homeostatic; it is common to observe no change in ATP concentration even while change in its turnover rate can increase or decrease by
more » ... ase or decrease by two orders of magnitude or more. A large number of other intermediates of cellular metabolism are also regulated within narrow concentration ranges, but none seemingly as precisely as is [ATP]. In fact, the only other metabolite in aerobic energy metabolism that is seemingly as homeostatic is oxygen -at least in working muscles where myoglobin serves to buffer oxygen concentrations at stable and constant values at work rates up to the aerobic maximum. In contrast to intracellular oxygen concentration, a 1:1 relationship between oxygen delivery and metabolic rate is observed over biologically realistic and large-magnitude changes in work. The central regulatory question is how the oxygen delivery signal is transmitted to the intracellular metabolic machinery. Traditional explanations assume diffusion as the dominant mechanism, while proponents of an ultrastructurally dominated view of the cell assume an intracellular perfusion system to account for the data which have been most perplexing to metabolic biochemistry so far: the striking lack of correlation between changes in pathway reaction rates and changes in concentrations of pathway substrates, including oxygen and pathway intermediates.
doi:10.1590/s0100-879x1999000600001 pmid:10412544 fatcat:6zy4as3kgnhp3dejzixddwgibe