Reaction specificity of native and nicked 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine decarboxylase. (1/228)

3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa) decarboxylase is a stereospecific pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent alpha-decarboxylase that converts L-aromatic amino acids into their corresponding amines. We now report that reaction of the enzyme with D-5-hydroxytryptophan or D-Dopa results in a time-dependent inactivation and conversion of the PLP coenzyme to pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate and PLP-D-amino acid Pictet-Spengler adducts, which have been identified by high performance liquid chromatography. We also show that the reaction specificity of Dopa decarboxylase toward aromatic amines depends on the experimental conditions. Whereas oxidative deamination occurs under aerobic conditions (Bertoldi, M., Moore, P. S., Maras, B., Dominici, P., and Borri Voltattorni, C. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 23954-23959; Bertoldi, M., Dominici, P., Moore, P. S., Maras, B., and Borri Voltattorni, C. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 6552-6561), half-transamination and Pictet-Spengler reactions take place under anaerobic conditions. Moreover, we examined the reaction specificity of nicked Dopa decarboxylase, obtained by selective tryptic cleavage of the native enzyme between Lys334 and His335. Although this enzymatic species does not exhibit either decarboxylase or oxidative deamination activities, it retains a large percentage of the native transaminase activity toward D-aromatic amino acids and displays a slow transaminase activity toward aromatic amines. These transamination reactions occur concomitantly with the formation of cyclic coenzyme-substrate adducts. Together with additional data, we thus suggest that native Dopa decarboxylase can exist as an equilibrium among "open," "half-open," and "closed" forms.  (+info)

Evaluation of dopaminergic presynaptic integrity: 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa versus 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine. (2/228)

The effectiveness of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-m-tyrosine (6FMT) to evaluate dopamine presynaptic integrity was compared to that of 6-[18F]fluoro-L-dopa (6FDOPA) in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET). Six normal and six 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-lesioned monkeys received 6FDOPA and 6FMT PET scans on separate occasions with identical scanning protocols. Four measures, the rate of uptake of tracer into striatum using either the arterial input function (Ki) or the activity in the occipital cortex as the input function (Kc), the rate of loss of striatal radioactivity (k(loss)), and an index of "effective turnover" of dopamine (k(loss)/Ki), were obtained for both tracers during extended PET studies. 6-[18F]Fluoro-L-m-tyrosine was as effective as 6FDOPA in separating normals from MPTP-lesioned subjects on the basis of the uptake rate constants Ki and Kc. However, in contrast to 6FDOPA, it was not possible to differentiate the normal from the lesioned animal using k(loss) or k(loss)/Ki for 6FMT. Thus, FMT appears to be a reasonable, highly specific tracer for studying the activity of aromatic dopa decarboxylase enzyme as an index of presynaptic integrity. However, if one is interested in investigating further the metabolic pathway and obtaining an in vivo estimate of the effective turnover of dopamine (after pharmacologic manipulation, for example), 6FDOPA remains the tracer of choice.  (+info)

Maternal hypothyroxinemia disrupts neurotransmitter metabolic enzymes in developing brain. (3/228)

Maternal thyroid status influences early brain development and, consequently, cognitive and motor function in humans and rats. The biochemical targets of maternal thyroid hormone (TH) action in fetal brain remain poorly defined. A partially thyroidectomized rat dam model was therefore used to investigate the influence of maternal hypothyroxinemia on the specific activities of cholinergic and monoaminergic neurotransmitter metabolic enzymes in the developing brain. Maternal hypothyroxinemia was associated with reduced monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in fetal whole brain at 16 and 19 days gestation (dg). A similar trend was observed for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity. In contrast, DOPA decarboxylase (DDC) activity was markedly elevated at 21 dg. Further study of these enzymes at 14 dg showed no differences between normal and experimental progeny - suggesting they become TH sensitive after this age. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrH) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activities were unaffected prenatally. During postnatal development, the activities of TyrH, MAO, DDC and, to a lesser extent, AChE were increased in a brain region- and age-specific manner in experimental progeny. The prenatal disturbances noted in this study may have wide-ranging consequences since they occur when neurotransmitters have putative neurotropic roles in brain development. Furthermore, the chronic disturbances in enzyme activity observed during postnatal life may affect neurotransmission, thereby contributing to the behavioural dysfunction seen in adult progeny of hypothyroxinemic dams.  (+info)

Dehydrodicaffeic acid dilactone, an inhibitor of catechol-O-methyl transferase. (4/228)

In the screening of catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors, three compounds were isolated from the culture filtrate of a mushroom, Inonotus sp. One was 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid (caffeic acid) which had been reported as an inhibitor of this enzyme. The others were the dextrorotatory 2,6-bis-(3',4'-dihydroxyphenyl)-3,7-dioxabicyclo-[3,3,0]-octane 4,8-dione (dehydrodicaffeic acid dilactone) andits antipode. These new compounds inhibited both dopamine beta-hydroxylase and dopa decarboxylase and showed hypotensive activity in the SH rat.  (+info)

Use of tumor-specific gene expression for the differential diagnosis of neuroblastoma from other pediatric small round-cell malignancies. (5/228)

The differential diagnosis of neuroblastoma from other small round-cell tumors of childhood, although clinically of great importance, is sometimes difficult due to the almost indistinguishable appearance of such tumors by conventional microscopy. Because neuroblastomas are characterized by the synthesis of catecholamines, we investigated the possibility that expression of genes involved in this pathway could serve as a molecular marker for this disease. A reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay was used to analyze expression of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopa decarboxylase in 84 pediatric malignancies including 55 neuroblastomas, 6 Ewing's sarcomas/primitive neuroectodermal tumors, 7 lymphomas, 6 leukemias, 2 rhabdomyosarcomas, 6 osteosarcomas, and 2 phaeochromocytomas. Of the 55 neuroblastoma samples analyzed, 54 expressed clearly detectable levels of both genes. The one sample that did not express either of the genes was rediagnosed both clinically and by molecular genetic analysis as a Ewing's sarcoma. Of the 29 non-neuroblastoma tumor samples examined, the only tumor samples that expressed clearly detectable levels of both tyrosine hydroxylase and dopa decarboxylase were phaeochromocytomas. Like neuroblastomas, these tumors are characterized by high levels of catecholamines. These findings suggest that expression of genes involved in catecholamine biosynthesis may be useful for differentiating neuroblastoma from other small round-cell tumors of childhood.  (+info)

Maternal and zygotic control of serotonin biosynthesis are both necessary for Drosophila germband extension. (6/228)

In the accompanying paper, we report that Drosophila gastrulae genetically depleted for the 5-HT(2Dro) serotonin receptor or for serotonin show abnormal germband extension. In wild-type gastrulae, peaks of both the 5-HT(2Dro) receptor and serotonin coincide precisely with the onset of germband extension. Here, we assessed the genetic requirement for this peak of serotonin. We report the characterisation of the serotonin content of individual Drosophila embryos, progeny from flies heterozygous for mutations in genes that are involved in the serotonin synthesis pathway and include the GTP-cyclohydrolase, tryptophan hydroxylase and DOPA decarboxylase loci. The peak of serotonin synthesis at the beginning of germband extension appears strictly dependent upon the maternal deposition of biopterins, products of GTP-cyclohydrolase and cofactors of tryptophan hydroxylase and upon the zygotic synthesis of both tryptophan hydroxylase and DOPA decarboxylase enzymes. Mutant embryos with an impairment in this peak of serotonin synthesis die with a cuticular organisation which is also observed in embryos deficient for the 5-HT(2Dro) receptor. This characteristic cuticular phenotype is thus the hallmark of desynchronisation of the morphogenetic movements during gastrulation. Together, these findings provide additional support for the notion that serotonin, acting through the 5-HT(2Dro) receptor, is necessary for proper gastrulation.  (+info)

Drosophila wing melanin patterns form by vein-dependent elaboration of enzymatic prepatterns. (7/228)

BACKGROUND: Animal melanin patterns are involved in diverse aspects of their ecology, from thermoregulation to mimicry. Many theoretical models have simulated pigment patterning, but little is known about the developmental mechanisms of color pattern formation. In Drosophila melanogaster, several genes are known to be necessary for cuticular melanization, but the involvement of these genes in melanin pattern evolution is unknown. We have taken a genetic approach to elucidate the developmental mechanisms underlying melanin pattern formation in various drosophilids. RESULTS: We show that, in D. melanogaster, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopa decarboxylase (DDC) are required for melanin synthesis. Ectopic expression of TH, but not DDC, alone was sufficient to cause ectopic melanin patterns in the wing. Thus, changes in the level of expression of a single gene can result in a new level of melanization. The ontogeny of this ectopic melanization resembled that found in Drosophila species bearing wing melanin patterns and in D. melanogaster ebony mutants. Importantly, we discovered that in D. melanogaster and three other Drosophila species these wing melanin patterns are dependent upon and shaped by the circulation patterns of hemolymph in the wing veins. CONCLUSIONS: Complex wing melanin patterns are determined by two distinct developmental mechanisms. Spatial prepatterns of enzymatic activity are established late in wing development. Then, in newly eclosed adults, melanin precursors gradually diffuse out from wing veins and are oxidized into dark brown or black melanin. Both the prepatterning and hemolymph-supplied components of this system can change during evolution to produce color pattern diversity.  (+info)

The effects of central aromatic amino acid DOPA decarboxylase inhibition on the motor actions of L-DOPA and dopamine agonists in MPTP-treated primates. (8/228)

1. Endogenous L-DOPA may act as a neuromodulator contributing to the production of motor activity. We now investigate the effects of the centrally acting aromatic amino acid dopa decarboxylase (AADC) inhibitor NSD-1015 (3-hydroxybenzyl hydrazine) on the motor actions of L-DOPA and dopamine agonist drugs in MPTP treated common marmosets. 2. Pretreatment with NSD-1015 (10 - 50 mg kg(-1); i.p.) worsened baseline motor deficits in MPTP-treated common marmosets. Similarly, it abolished L-DOPA (5 - 18 mg kg(-1) s.c.) induced locomotor activity and reversal of disability. NSD-1015 pretreatment inhibited dopamine formation and elevated L-DOPA levels in plasma. 3. The increase in locomotor activity and improvement in disability produced by the administration of the D-1 agonist A-86929 (0.03 - 0. 04 mg kg(-1) s.c.) or the D-2 agonist quinpirole (0.05 - 0.3 mg kg(-1) i.p.) was abolished by NSD-1015 (25 mg kg(-1) i.p.) pretreatment. While the effects of a low dose combination of A-86929 (0.04 mg kg(-1) s.c.) and quinpirole (0.05 mg kg(-1) i.p.) were inhibited by NSD-1015 (25 mg kg(-1) i.p.), there was little effect on the action of a high dose combination of these drugs (0.08 mg kg(-1) A-86929 and 0.1 mg kg(-1) quinpirole). 4. Following central AADC inhibition with NSD-1015 (25 mg kg(-1) i.p.), locomotor behaviour induced by administration of high dose combinations of A-86929 (0.08 mg kg(-1) s.c.) and quinpirole (0.1 mg kg(-1) i.p.) was unaffected by L-DOPA (5 mg kg(-1) s.c.) pretreatment. 5. These results do not support a role for endogenous L-DOPA in spontaneous or drug induced locomotor activity. Rather, they strengthen the argument for the importance of endogenous dopaminergic tone in the motor actions of dopamine agonists.  (+info)