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Myoglobin Interaction with Lactate Rapidly Releases Oxygen: Studies on Binding Thermodynamics, Spectroscopy, and Oxygen Kinetics


Myoglobin (Mb)-mediated oxygen (O2) delivery and dissolved O2 in the cytosol are two major sources that support oxidative phosphorylation. During intense exercise, lactate (LAC) production is elevated in skeletal muscles as a consequence of insufficient intracellular O2 supply. The latter results in diminished mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and an increased reliance on nonoxidative pathways to generate ATP. Whether or not metabolites from these pathways impact Mb-O2 associations remains to be established. In the present study, we employed isothermal titration calorimetry, O2 kinetic studies, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to evaluate the LAC affinity toward Mb (oxy- and deoxy-Mb) and the effect of LAC on O2 release from oxy-Mb in varying pH conditions (pH 6.0-7.0). Our results show that LAC avidly binds to both oxy- and deoxy-Mb (only at acidic pH for the latter). Similarly, in the presence of LAC, increased release of O2 from oxy-Mb was detected. This suggests that with LAC binding to Mb, the structural conformation of the protein (near the heme center) might be altered, which concomitantly triggers the release of O2. Taken together, these novel findings support a mechanism where LAC acts as a regulator of O2 management in Mb-rich tissues and/or influences the putative signaling roles for oxy- and deoxy-Mb, especially under conditions of LAC accumulation and lactic acidosis.

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