Tyrosinase isozyme heterogeneity in differentiating B16/C3 melanoma

J. D. Laskin, L. A. Piccinini

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The B16/C3 murine melanoma is a pigmented tumor that is rich in the copper-containing enzyme, tyrosinase. This enzyme, which converts tyrosine to melanin precursors, is largely associated with membrane fractions of cells and exists in a number of discrete isozymic forms ranging in molecular mass from 58,000 to 150,000 daltons and pI from 3.4 to 5.2. One of these isozymes (M(r) = 58,000, pI 3.4) has been purified to homogeneity. The purified enzyme catalyzes the hydroxylation of L-tyrosine to L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) and the conversion of L-DOPA to dopaquinone. Ascorbic acid, tetrahydrofolate, and dopamine can serve as cofactors in the hydroxylase reaction. The Michaelis constants for the purified enzyme were 7 x 10-4 M for L-tyrosine and 6 x 10-4 M for L-DOPA. The V(max) for L-DOPA was much greater than the V(max) for L-tyrosine indicating that tyrosine hydroxylation is rate-limiting in melanin precursor biosynthesis. Two putative copper chelators, phenylthiourea and diethyldithiocarbamide inhibited both the tyrosine hydroxylase and L-DOPA oxidase activities of the enzyme. Phenylthiourea was a noncompetitive inhibitor while diethyldithiocarbamide was a competitive inhibitor indicating that these agents act by different mechanisms. When digested with proteases and glycosidases, higher molecular weight forms of tyrosinase co-migrated with the purified enzyme in isoelectric focusing and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis suggesting that the isozyme was derived from larger precursors. Thus, post-translational processing of tyrosinase may underlie isozyme diversity and this may be important in the control of melanogenesis in this tumor model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16626-16635
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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