Challenging the Assumptions in Estimating Protein Fractional Synthesis Rate Using a Model of Rodent Protein Turnover

  • Heidi A. Johnson
  • Chris C. Calvert
  • Kirk C. Klasing
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 537)


Understanding the effects of physiological changes on protein synthesis and degrada-tion is limited by our ability to quantify protein metabolism. Current methods for estimating the rate of protein synthesis, such as the flooding dose, continuous infusion, and pulse dose, are based on measuring the rate of incorporation of a radiolabeled amino acid into protein in a particular tissue or in the whole body. Each method is limited by approximations and assumptions that must be made in order to summarize radioactivity data into a single rate estimate. In the flooding dose method, a large bolus of unlabeled amino acid is injected with the radiolabeled amino acid to expand free amino acid pools (extracellular and intracellular tRNA pools) so that their specific radioactivities (µCi/µmol) are equivalent (Garlick et al., 1980). In the continuous infusion method, a constant amount of radiolabeled amino acid is continuously infused so that specific radioactivities of plasma and free amino acid pools reach a plateau or become equal (Waterlow et al., 1978). The pulse dose method involves injection of a small amount of radiolabeled amino acid and collection of blood for determination of free amino acid specific radioactivities over a specified period of time (Peters and Peters, 1972). In all three methods, when free amino acid pool specific radioactivities reach a plateau or a predesignated time, specific radioactivity of the protein is measured. Then the ratio of free amino acid specific radioactivity to protein specific radioactivity is calculated to estimate protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR).


Free Amino Acid Specific Radioactivity Intracellular Pool Protein Synthesis Rate Dose Method 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi A. Johnson
    • 1
  • Chris C. Calvert
    • 1
  • Kirk C. Klasing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of California, DavisDavis

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