Studies of the chemical and regulatory mechanisms of tyrosine hydroxylase



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Texas A&M University


Tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrH) catalyzes the pterin-dependent hydroxylation of tyrosine to form dihydroxyphenylalanine. The enzyme requires one atom of ferrous iron for activity. Using deuterated 4-methylphenylalanine substrates, intrinsic primary and secondary isotope effects of 9.6 ?? 0.9 and 1.21 ?? 0.08 have been determined for benzylic hydroxylation catalyzed by TyrH. The large, normal secondary isotope effect is consistent with a mechanism involving hydrogen atom abstraction to generate a radical intermediate. The similarity of the isotope effects to those measured for benzylic hydroxylation catalyzed by cytochrome P-450 suggests that a high-valent, ferryl-oxo species is the hydroxylating species in TyrH. Uncoupled mutant forms of TyrH have been utilized to unmask isotope effects on steps in the aromatic hydroxylation pathway which also implicate a ferryl-oxo intermediate. Inverse secondary isotope effects were seen when 3,5-2H2-tyrosine was used as a substrate for several mutant enzyme forms. This result is consistent with a direct attack by a ferryl-oxo species on the aromatic ring of tyrosine forming a cationic intermediate. Rapid-freeze quench M??ssbauer studies have provided preliminary spectroscopic evidence for an Fe(IV) intermediate in the reaction catalyzed by TyrH. The role of the iron atom in the regulatory mechanism has also been investigated. The iron atom in TyrH, as isolated, is in the ferric form and must be reduced for activity. The iron can be reduced by a number of one-electron reductants including tetrahydrobiopterin, ascorbate, and glutathione; however, it appears that BH4 (kred = 2.8 ?? 0.1 mM-1 s-1) is the most likely candidate for reducing the enzyme in vivo. A one-electron transfer would require a pterin radical. Rapid-freeze quench EPR experiments aimed at detecting the intermediate were unsuccessful, suggesting that it decays very rapidly by reducing another equivalent of enzyme. The active Fe(II) form can also become oxidized by oxygen (210 ?? 30 M-1 s-1); this increases the affinity of catecholamine inhibitors. Serine 40 can be phosphorylated to relieve the inhibition; however, results with S40E TyrH show phosphorylation does not have an effect on the rate constant for reduction of the enzyme but causes a 40% decrease in the rate constant of oxidation.