In honeybee flight muscle, there are close matches between physiological flux rates and the maximal activities (Vmax; determined using crude homogenates) of key enzymes catalyzing non-equilibrium reactions in carbohydrate oxidation. In contrast, phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI), which catalyzes a reaction believed to be close to equilibrium, occurs at Vmax values greatly in excess of glycolytic flux rates. In this study, we measure the Vmax of flight muscle PGI, the kinetic parameters of the purified enzyme, the apparent equilibrium constants for the reaction and the tissue concentrations of substrate and product. Using the Haldane equation, we estimate that the forward flux capacity (Vf) for PGI required to achieve physiological glycolytic flux rates is between 800 and 1070 units ml-1 cell water, approximately 45­60 % of the empirically measured Vmax of 1770 units ml-1 cell water at optimal pH (8.0) and low ionic strength (no added KCl). When measured at physiological pH (7.0) and ionic strength (120 mmol l-1 KCl) with saturating levels of substrate, PGI activity is 1130 units ml-1 cell water, a value close to the calculated Vf. These results reveal a very close match between predicted and measured PGI flux capacities, and support the concept of an economical design of muscle metabolism in systems working at very high metabolic rates.

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