Hexokinase receptors: Preferential enzyme binding in normal cells to nonmitochondrial sites and in transformed cells to mitochondrial sites

Krishan K. Arora, David M. Parry, Peter L. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Hexokinase plays an important role in normal glucose-utilizing tissues like brain and kidney, and an even more important role in highly malignant cancer cells where it is markedly overexpressed. In both cell types, normal and transformed, a significant portion of the total hexokinase activity is bound to particulate material that sediments upon differential centrifugation with the crude "mitochondrial" fraction. In the case of brain, particulate binding may constitute most of the total hexokinase activity of the cell, and in highly malignant tumor cells as much as 80 percent of the total. When a variety of techniques are rigorously applied to better define the particulate location of hexokinase within the crude "mitochondrial fraction," a striking difference is observed between the distribution of hexokinase in normal and transformed cells. Significantly, particulate hexokinase found in rat brain, kidney, or liver consistently distributes with nonmitochondrial membrane markers whereas the particulate hexokinase of highly glycolytic hepatoma cells distributes with outer mitochondrial membrane markers. These studies indicate that within normal tissues hexokinase binds preferentially to non-mitochondrial receptor sites but upon transformation of such cells to yield poorly differentiated, highly malignant tumors, the overexpressed enzyme binds preferentially to outer mitochondrial membrane receptors. These studies, taken together with the well-known observation that, once solubilized, the particulate hexokinase from a normal tissue can bind to isolated mitochondria, are consistent with the presence in normal tissues of at least two different types of particulate receptors for hexokinase with different subcellular locations. A model which explains this unique transformation-dependent shift in the intracellular location of hexokinase is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Mitochondria
  • NADPH-cytochrome c reductase
  • enzyme localization
  • hexokinase
  • monoamine oxidase
  • normal and tumor cells
  • receptor for binding
  • subcellular fractionation
  • transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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