Indexed on: 12 May '04Published on: 12 May '04Published in: FEBS Letters
We have compared the urea stability of the human aromatic amino acid hydroxylases (AAAHs), key enzymes involved in neurotransmitter biosynthesis and amino acid homeostasis. Tyrosine-, tryptophan- and phenylalanine hydroxylase (TH, TPH and PAH, respectively) were transiently activated at low urea concentrations and rapidly inactivated in >3 M urea. The denaturation of TH occurred through two cooperative transitions, with denaturation midpoints of 1.41+/-0.06 and 5.13+/-0.05 M urea, respectively. Partially denatured human TH (hTH) retained more of its secondary structure than human PAH (hPAH), and was found to exist as tetramers, whereas hPAH dissociated into dimers. Furthermore, the urea-induced aggregation of hPAH was 100-fold higher than for hTH. These results suggest that the denatured state properties of the AAAHs contribute significantly to the stability of these enzymes and their tolerance towards missense mutations.