Tyrosine hydroxylase catalyzes the tetrahydropterin-dependent hydroxylation of tyrosine to form 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. Several nonphysiological aromatic amino acids have been examined as inhibitors and substrates for bovine adrenal tyrosine hydroxylase. The Ki values for para-substituted phenylalanines increase as the size of the substituent increases. For each Å2 increase in surface area of the substituent, the free energy of binding becomes 50 cal more positive. Replacement of the phenyl ring with a pyridyl ring decreases the affinity about one order of magnitude. A number of these aromatic amino acids are also substrates for the enzyme. The KM values again increase in size with increasing size of the substituent, but the Vmax value is independent of the reactivity of the amino acid. The effect of size on binding is consistent with a tight interaction between the para position region of the substrate and the enzyme. The lack of a change in the Vmax value is consistent with the rate-limiting step in catalysis by bovine tyrosine hydroxylase being formation of the hydroxylating intermediate rather than hydroxylation of the amino acid. These results will be useful in designing mechanism-based inhibitors of catecholamine biosynthesis and establish that the mechanisms of rat and bovine tyrosine hydroxylase do not differ significantly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology