The subcellular distribution of alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase 1 (AGT1) enzyme activity and immunoreactive protein has been determined in the livers of a variety of mammalian species (marmoset, baboon, cat, rabbit, pig, sheep) using the techniques of post-embedding protein A-gold immunoelectron microscopy and isopycnic density gradient centrifugation. In baboon and rabbit livers, AGT1 was exclusively peroxisomal. Morphometric analysis of the distribution of immunoreactive AGT1 protein in cat liver showed that 91–92% was located in the mitochondria with 8–9% in the peroxisomes. In marmoset liver, 59% of AGT1 was found in the mitochondrial matrix and 41% in the peroxisomal matrix. The results from pig and sheep were ambiguous, because of the low levels of expression of AGT1. The implications of these data in terms of the metabolic roles of AGT1 (gluconeogenesis and glyoxylate detoxification) and in terms of the evolutionary acquisition and loss of functional mitochondrial and peroxisomal targeting sequences are discussed.

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