Regulation of proline biosynthesis: The inhibition of pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase activity by ornithine

Ronna F. Lodato, Robert J. Smith, David Valle, James M. Phang, Thomas T. Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Mammalian cells have the capacity for proline biosynthesis from ornithine or glutamic acid. Using a radioisotopic assay, we have studied the regulation by ornithine of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first step of proline biosynthesis from glutamic acid. In homogenates from Chinese hamster ovary cells, ornithine was found to be a potent inhibitor of pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase activity (50% inhibition at 0.37 mM). The effect was reversible and did not occur with amino acids other than ornithine. Preliminary findings suggest that the inhibition does not result from altered requirements for the cofactors NADPH and ATP. Significant inhibition was observed in four different Chinese hamster cell lines. Ornithine was also shown to inhibit the conversion of 3H-glutamic acid to 3H-proline in intact human skin fibroblasts. Cells from patients with a rare ocular disease, gyrate atrophy of the choroid and retina, were used for these studies since they lack interfering ornithine aminotransferase activity. We conclude that ornithine may be a physiologic regulator of the rate of proline formation from glutamic acid. This information allows us to construct an hypothetical model for the overall regulation of proline biosynthesis and also to suggest a pathophysiologic mechanism for the disease gyrate atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-913
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of proline biosynthesis: The inhibition of pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase activity by ornithine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this