An enzyme capable of degrading 5'-methylthioadenosine to adenine was found in the human erythrocyte. A rapid assay for this enzyme, 5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase, was developed using high pressure liquid chromatography. The specific activity in 24 normal subjects was 8.9 ± 2.0 nmol · mg-1 Hb · h-1. Levels within this range were also found in erythrocyte lysates from gouty subjects and patients with a variety of inborn errors of purine metabolism, including patients with a complete deficiency of the adenine salvage enzyme - adenine phosphoribosyltransferase. Erythrocyte lysates from the latter however, were unable to convert the adenine produced to AMP in a linked assay system, in contrast to controls and other patients. These results support the suggestion that adenine, which is excreted in quantity by patients with adenine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency is derived endogenously from 5'-methylthioadenosine as a by-product of polyamine biosynthesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical