In mammalian cells, the flavoprotein polyamine oxidase catalyzes a key step in the catabolism of polyamines, the oxidation of N1-acetylspermine and N1-acetylspermidine to spermidine and putrescine, respectively. The mechanism of the mouse enzyme has been studied with N1,N12-bisethylspermine (BESPM) as a substrate. At pH 10, the pH optimum, the limiting rate of reduction of the flavin in the absence of oxygen is comparable to the kcat value for turnover, establishing reduction as rate-limiting. Oxidation of the reduced enzyme is a simple second-order reaction. No intermediates are seen in the reductive or oxidative half-reactions. The Kcat value decreases below a pKa of 9.0. The kcat/Km value for BESPM exhibits a bell-shaped pH profile, with pKa values of 9.8 and 10.8. These pKa values are assigned to the substrate nitrogens. The rate constant for the reaction of the reduced enzyme with oxygen is not affected by a pH between 7.5 and 10. Active site residue Tyr430 is conserved in the homologous protein monoamine oxidase. Mutation of this residue to phenylalanine results in a 6-fold decrease in the kcat value and the k cat/Km value for oxygen due to a comparable decrease in the rate constant for flavin reduction. This moderate change is not consistent with this residue forming a tyrosyl radical during catalysis.
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