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Glyceraldehyde and Embryonic Glucolysis

Naturevolume 140page198 (1937) | Download Citation



IT has already been reported1,2 that anaerobic lactic acid production from glucose in the chick embryo is a true case of non-phosphorylating glucolysis, strongly inhibited by dl-glyceraldehyde. As possible intermediates, glycerol, glyceric acid, dihydroxyacetone and methylglyoxal were excluded. We are now able to add to the list pyruvic acid and glyceraldehyde.* Of the two stereoisomers, only l-glyceraldehyde inhibits glucolysis ; this corresponds in its configuration to l-lactic acid (sarcolactic acid) which derives from glucose in the body. The inhibitory effect is complete at a concentration of about 2·5 × 10-3 M. The fact that dl-glyceraldehyde does not apparently inhibit glucolysis more than about 90 per cent is due to a slow enzymic lactic acid formation from glyceraldehyde itself. This process needs glutathione as co-enzyme and is not based upon a primary condensation of trioses to hexose, as it is not inhibited by amounts of fluoride or iodoacetate which would be enough to poison a secondary glucose breakdown. It is due rather to the non-enzymic formation of methylglyoxal under the experimental conditions, which is then converted to lactic acid by the glyoxalase present.

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  1. 1

    Needham, Nowinski, Cook and Dixon, NATURE, 138, 462 (1936).

  2. 2

    Needham and Lehmann, NATURE, 139, 368 (1937).

  3. 3

    Nef, Liebigs Annalen, 376, 1 (1910).

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  1. Biochemical Laboratory, Cambridge



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