Molecular cloning, sequencing and expression of the cDNA of the mitochondrial form of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase from human liver.
In human liver, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK; EC 126.96.36.199) is about equally distributed between cytosol and mitochondria in contrast with rat liver in which it is essentially a cytosolic enzyme. Recently, the isolation of the gene and cDNA of the human cytosolic enzyme has been reported [Ting, Burgess, Chamberlian, Keith, Falls and Meisler (1993) Genomics 16, 698-706; Stoffel, Xiang, Espinosa, Cox, Le Beau and Bell (1993) Hum. Mol. Genet. 2, 1-4]. It was the goal of this investigation to isolate the cDNA of the human mitochondrial form of hepatic PCK. A human liver cDNA library was screened with a rat cytosolic PCK cDNA probe comprising sequences from exons 2 to 9. A cDNA clone was isolated which had overall a 68% DNA sequence and a 70% deduced amino acid sequence identity with the human cytosolic PCK cDNA. Without the flanking 270 bases (=90 amino acids) each at the 5' and 3' end, the sequence identity was 73% on the DNA and 78% on the amino acid level. The isolated cDNA had an open reading frame of 1920 bp; it was 54 bp (equivalent to 18 amino acids) longer than that of human or rat cytosolic PCK cDNA. The isolated cDNA was cloned into the eukaryotic expression vector pcDNAI and transfected into human embryonal kidney cells HEK293; PCK activity was increased by 3-fold in the mitochondria, which normally contain 70% of total PCK activity, but not in the cytosol. The isolated cDNA was also transfected into cultured rat hepatocytes; again, PCK activity was enhanced by about 40-fold in the mitochondria, which normally possess only 10% of total PCK activity, but not in the cytosol. In the rat hepatocytes only the endogenous cytosolic PCK and not the transfected mitochondrial PCK was induced 3-fold with glucagon. Comparison of the amino acid sequences deduced from the isolated cDNA with human and rat cytosolic PCK showed that the additional 18 amino acids were located at the N-terminus of the protein and probably constitute a mitochondrial targeting signal. Northern-blot analyses revealed the human mitochondrial PCK mRNA to be 2.25 kb long, about 0.6 kb shorter than the mRNA of the cytosolic PCK. Primer extension experiments showed that the 5'-untranslated region of mitochondrial PCK mRNA was 134 nucleotides in length.