Distribution of phosphate-activated glutaminase isozymes in the chicken: absence from liver but presence of high activity in pectoralis muscle Academic Article uri icon


  • The distribution of glutaminase expression in a uricotelic species, the chicken, has been examined using cDNA probes to the rat isozymes. The results suggest that chickens do not possess a glutaminase isozyme equivalent to the liver-type isozyme of mammalian liver. Measurements of enzymic activity also showed very low glutaminase activity in chicken liver. Extra-hepatic tissues in the chicken do express a glutaminase isozyme mRNA which is detected by rat kidney-type glutaminase cDNA. The abundance of this mRNA was highest in kidney and breast muscle and relatively abundant in brain, spleen and adipose tissue. Chicken small intestine expressed relatively low levels of the mRNA. The high level of glutaminase mRNA in chicken pectoralis muscle was accompanied by high glutaminase enzymic activity. In contrast, in mixed leg muscle glutaminase mRNA was barely detectable by Northern blot and glutaminase activity was relatively low. Starvation for 48 h resulted in a slight decrease in the activity of glutaminase in pectoralis muscle, but a large decrease in the relative abundance of the mRNA. The results suggest that in the chicken, hepatic glutamine hydrolysis is not quantitatively important, but skeletal muscle may be a major site of glutamine catabolism.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, G., Chung-Bok, M., Vincent, N., Kowalski, T. J., Choi, Y., & Watford, M.

citation count

  • 7
  • 8

publication date

  • June 1998