Purification to homogeneity and characterisation of rat brain recombinant nitric oxide synthase

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
European Journal Of Biochemistry, 1995, 230 (1), pp. 52 - 57
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We have previously demonstrated high expression of rat neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NO synthase) in a baculovirus system [Charles, I. G., Chubb, A., Gill, R., Clare, J., Lowe, P. N., Holmes, L. S., Page, M., Keeling, J. G., Moncada, S. & Riveros-Moreno, V. (1993) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 196, 1481-1489], where a small proportion of the expressed enzyme was soluble and active, but the majority was insoluble (approximately 15% of the total insoluble proteins). NO synthase is a complex enzyme, requiring several cofactors for full activity. These include tightly bound FAD, FMN, heme and tetrahydrobiopterin, in addition to calmodulin and NADPH. Here, we report that a substantial proportion of the total NO synthase produced becomes soluble following addition of hemin (2.5 ?g/ml) to the culture medium. However, the enzyme purified under these conditions had very low specific activity, 50 nmol · min-1 · mg-1, after ADP-Sepharose affinity purification. Full activity (approximately 800 nmol · min-1 · mg-1) could, however, be obtained by including precursors for the cofactors, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, and sepiapterin in the culture medium. We demonstrate that the enzyme activity is exclusively associated with the dimeric form of the enzyme, which had the following molar ratios for the cofactors: heme, 0.92; FAD, 0.57; FMN, 0.34; H4biopterin, 0.32, with a specific activity of 1500 nmol · min-1 · mg-1. The provision of substantial quantities of good quality enzyme, as described here, will facilitate the studies on the relationship between enzyme structure and its mechanism of catalysis
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