Purification and properties of uroporphyrinogen III synthase from human erythrocytes

S. F. Tsai, D. F. Bishop, R. J. Desnick

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Uroporphyrinogen III synthase (hydroxymethylbilane hydro-lyase (cyclizing); EC, the fourth enzyme in the heme biosynthetic pathway, was purified to homogeneity from human erythrocytes. For enzyme purification and characterization, a sensitive coupled enzyme assay was used which generated the substrate, hydroxymethylbilane; the oxidized product, uroporphyrin III, was quantitated by high pressure liquid chromatography. Uroporphyrinogen III synthase was initially separated from δ-aminolevulinate dehydratase and hydroxymethylbilane synthase by a preparative anion exchange chromatographic step. Subsequent chromatography on hydroxyapatite, phenyl-S-Sepharose, and Sephadex G-100 purified the enzyme about 70,000-fold with an 8% yield. Homogeneous enzyme was obtained following a final C14-reversed phase high pressure liquid chromatographic step which removed a single major and several minor protein contaminants from the enzyme. The purified enzyme had a specific activity of over 300,000 units/mg, an isoelectric point of 5.5, and was thermolabile (t( 1/2 ) at 60°C ~ 1 min). Molecular weight studies by gel filtration (M(r) ≃ 30,000) and analytical sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (M(r) ≃ 29,500) were consistent with the enzyme being a monomer. Using hydroxymethylbilane as substrate, the purified enzyme formed uroporphyrinogen III in the absence of hydroxymethylbilane synthase or other cofactors. The pH optimum was 7.4 and the K(m) for hydroxymethylbilane was 5-20 μM. The enzyme was activated by Na+, K+, Mg+, and Ca2+ and was inhibited by Cd2+, Cu2+, Hg2+, and Zn2+. Amino acid composition analysis was performed, and the N-terminal sequence, Met-Lys-Val-Leu-Leu-Leu, was determined by microsequencing. The availability of the purified enzyme should permit investigation of its reaction mechanism as well as facilitate biochemical and molecular studies of the genetic defect in congenital erythropoietic porphyria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268-1273
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987


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