Functional expression of a fragment of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase by means of the baculovirus expression vector system, and kinetic investigation of the purified recombinant enzyme

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Human mitochondrial dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (the fourth enzyme of pyrimidine de novo synthesis) has been overproduced by means of a recombinant baculovirus that contained the human cDNA fragment for this protein. After virus infection and protein expression in Trichoplusia ni cells (BTI-Tn-5B1-4), the subcellular distribution of the recombinant dihydroorotate dehydrogenase was determined by two distinct enzyme-activity assays and by Western blot analysis with anti-(dihydroorotate dehydrogenase) Ig. The targeting of the recombinant protein to the mitochondria of the insect cells was verified. The activity of the recombinant enzyme in the mitochondria of infected cells was about 740-fold above the level of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase in human liver mitochondria. In a three-step procedure, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase was purified to a specific activity of greater than 50 U/mg. Size-exclusion chromatography showed a molecular mass of 42 kDa and confirmed the existence of the fully active enzyme as a monomeric species. Fluorimetric cofactor analysis revealed the presence of FMN in recombinant dihydroorotate dehydrogenase. By kinetics analysis, Km values for dihydroorotate and ubiquinone-50 were found to be 4 microM and 9.9 microM, respectively, while Km values for dihydroorotate and decylubiquinone were 9.4 microM and 13.7 microM, respectively. The applied expression system will allow preparation of large quantities of the enzyme for structure and function studies. Purified recombinant human dihytdroorotate dehydrogenase was tested for its sensitivity to a reported inhibitor A77 1726 (2-hydroxyethyliden-cyanoacetic acid 4-trifluoromethyl anilide), which is the active metabolite of the isoxazole derivative leflunomide [5-methyl-N-(4-trifluoromethyl-phenyl)-4-isoxazole carboximide]. An IC50 value of 1 microM was determined for A77 1726. Detailed kinetics experiments revealed uncompetitive inhibition with respect to dihydroorotate (Kiu = 0.94 microM) and non-competitive inhibition with respect to decylubiquinone (Kic = 1.09 microM, Kiu = 1.05 microM). These results suggest that the immunomodulating agent A77 1726 (currently in clinical phase III studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis) is a very good inhibitor of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase.


Externa organisationer
  • Philipp University of Marburg


Sidor (från-till)292-301
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 1996 aug 15
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa