Archives of biochemistry and biophysics

Purine nucleoside phosphorylase activity decline is linked to the decay of the trimeric form of the enzyme.

PMID 24686197


Homotrimeric mammalian purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) plays a key role in the nucleoside and nucleotide metabolic salvage pathway. Each monomer in the active PNP trimer is composed of a central β-sheet flanked by several α-helices. We investigated the stability of calf PNP using analytical ultracentrifugation, differential scanning calorimetry, circular dichroism, and UV absorption spectroscopy. The results demonstrate that the activity decline (due to protein aging after isolation from cells) of wild type PNP and its two mutants with point mutations in the region of monomer-monomer interface, is accompanied by a decrease of the population of the trimeric enzyme and an increase of the population of its aggregated forms. The data do not indicate a significant population of either folded or unfolded PNP monomers. The enzyme with specific activity lower than the maximal shows a decrease of the helical structure, which can make it prone to aggregation. The presence of phosphate stabilizes the enzyme but leads to a more pronounced aggregation above the melting temperature. These results suggest that the biological role of packing of the PNP monomers into a trimeric structure is to provide the stability of the enzyme since the monomers are not stable in solution.