Cyanide detoxification is catalysed by two enzymes: rhodanese [thiosulphate: cyanide sulphurtransferase, E.C. 188.8.131.52], and 3-mercaptopyruvate sulphurtransferase [3-MST, EC. 184.108.40.206]. In the present work, the activity of the two enzymes in the crude extracts of different tissues and in the mitochondrial and cytosolic fractions of tissues from some ruminants (camels, cattle and sheep) and birds (chickens and pigeons) have been compared. Rhodanese activity was almost exclusively present in the mitochondrial fraction. In ruminants and chickens the highest activity of rhodanese was found in the liver, followed by the kidney. In pigeons, however, the enzyme activity was the highest in the kidneys. In camels' tissues, the rhodanese activity was significantly (P < 0.05) lower than in cattle or sheep, and the enzyme activities in the two latter species were similar. The activity of 3-MST in the crude extract of tissues from camels was similar to that in sheep, but higher than that in cattle. The enzyme activity was equally distributed between the mitochondrial and cytosolic fractions in the liver and kidneys of camels, cattle and sheep.
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