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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The interaction of aromatic amino acids with rat liver phenylalanine hydroxylase.

We have examined the interaction of hepatic phenylalanine hydroxylase with the phenylalanine analogs, tryptophan and the diastereomers of 3-phenylserine (beta-hydroxyphenylalanine). Both isomers of phenylserine are substrates for native phenylalanine hydroxylase at pH 6.8 and 25 degrees C, when activity is measured with the use of the dihydropteridine reductase assay coupled with NADH in the presence of the synthetic cofactor, 6-methyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydropterin. However, while erythro-phenylserine exhibits simple Michaelis-Menten kinetics (Km = 1.2 mM, Vmax = 1.2 mumol/min X min) under these conditions, the threo isomer exhibits strong positive cooperativity (S0.5 = 4.8 mM Vmax = 1.4 mumol/min X mg, nH = 3). Tryptophan also exhibits cooperativity under these conditions (S0.5 = 5 mM, Vmax = 1 mumol/min X mg, nH = 3). The presence of 1 mM lysolecithin results in a hyperbolic response of phenylalanine hydroxylase to tryptophan (Km = 4 mM, Vmax = 1 mumol/min X mg) and threo-phenylserine (Km = 2 mM, Vmax = 1.4 mumol/min X mg). erythro-Phenylserine is a substrate for native phenylalanine hydroxylase in the presence of the natural cofactor, L-erythro-tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) (Km = 2 mM, Vmax 0.05 mumol/min X mg, nH = 2). Preincubation of phenylalanine hydroxylase with erythro-phenylserine results in a 26-fold increase in activity upon subsequent assay with BH4 and erythro-phenylserine, and hyperbolic kinetic plots are observed. In contrast, both threo-phenylserine and tryptophan exhibit negligible activity in the presence of BH4 unless the enzyme has been activated. The product of the reaction of phenylalanine hydroxylase with either isomer of phenylserine was identified as the corresponding p-hydroxyphenylserine by reaction with sodium periodate and nitrosonaphthol. With erythro-phenylserine, the hydroxylation reaction is tightly coupled (i.e. 1 mol of hydroxyphenylserine is formed for every mole of tetrahydropterin cofactor consumed), while with threo-phenylserine and tryptophan the reaction is largely uncoupled (i.e. more cofactor consumed than product formed). Erythro-phenylserine is a good activator, when preincubated with phenylalanine hydroxylase (A0.5 = 0.2 mM), with a potency about one-third that of phenylalanine (A0.5 = 0.06 mM), while threo-phenylserine (A0.5 = 6 mM) and tryptophan (A0.5 approximately 10 mM) are very poor activators. Addition of 4 mM tryptophan or threo-phenylserine or 0.2 mM erythro-phenylserine to assay mixtures containing BH4 and phenylalanine results in a dramatic increase in the hydroxylation at low concentrations of phenylalanine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. The interaction of aromatic amino acids with rat liver phenylalanine hydroxylase. Phillips, R.S., Parniak, M.A., Kaufman, S. J. Biol. Chem. (1984) [Pubmed]
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