The kinetic behaviour of human erythrocyte phosphofructokinase has been analyzed over a relative wide range of enzyme concentration (0.01 -- 1.7 mug/ml). The kinetic cooperativity which becomes apparent when the enzymic reaction rate is plotted versus the fructose 6-phosphate concentration decreases with increasing enzyme concentration. Simultaneously, a decrease of the half-saturation concentration for fructose 6-phosphate [S]0.5 is observed. Maximum velocity passes through a maximum at increasing enzyme concentrations. Sets of curves representing specific enzymic activity of phosphofructokinase versus enzyme concentration obtained at various fixed concentrations of fructose 6-phosphate and ATP are analyzed. The shapes of these curves are interpreted in terms of an association model of human erythrocyte phosphofructokinase, in which an inactive dimer (Mr 190000) and active multimers of the dimeric form are involved. The conclusion is drawn that the sigmoidal shape of the plots of the enzymic reaction rate versus fructose 6-phosphate concentration is partially caused by a displacement of the equilibrium between different states of association of phosphofructokinase to multimers by this substrate. On the other hand, the inhibition of the enzyme by high concentrations of ATP may be partially caused by a shift of this equilibrium to the state of the inactive dimer.
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