Project: Research project

Project Details


Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine
biosynthesis. This pivotal enzyme is under strict regulatory control and
responds to a variety of cellular stimuli by increasing its activity. In
the short-term, TH is phosphorylated in vivo by at least three separate
protein kinase systems (cAMP-dependent protein kinase, Ca++/phospholipid-
dependent protein kinase and CA++/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase). TH
can be phosphorylated in vitro by two additional kinases (cGMP-dependent
protein kinase and TH-associated protein kinase from pheochromocytoma
cells). Although the individual contributions of the separate kinases are
unclear, the overall consequence of phosphorylation is an increase in
enzyme activity.

Five serine residues in rat pheochromocytoma TH have been identified as
sites of phosphorylation. We propose to utilize a full-length cDNA clone
(isolated in this laboratory) to test the functional significance of the
phosphorylation of these serine residues. This cDNA clone has been
expressed in bacteria as two different forms of beta-galactosidase fusion
proteins. Both of these fusion enzymes exhibit high levels of activity.
Attempts will be made to express TH as a native enzyme within bacteria.
These recombinant enzymes will be purified and characterized as to their
physical state, enzyme kinetics parameters and phosphorylation by protein

Site specific mutagenesis will be employed to convert serine residues to a
number of different amino acids. The altered enzymes will then be
expressed and tested from their ability to be phosphorylated and activated
by protein kinases. The role of each serine in TH activity and its post-
translational regulation will be established.

Deletion mutants will be constructed from each end of the TH cDNA. The
prevailing hypothesis that TH is composed of an amino terminal regulatory
domain and carboxyl terminal catalytic domain will be tested. This will
also delineate the boundaries of the catalytic core of the enzyme.

Both deletion and site specific point mutants will be constructed to test
the hypothesis that leucine zippers are involved in the assemble of TH
monomers into its native homotetramer form. We have identified two strong
candidates for leucine zippers (with a third weaker candidate) in the
carboxyl terminus of TH. These will be examined by interrupting the
leucine repeat which is characteristic of the leucine zipper, expressing
the enzyme and determining if it associates into multimers.
Effective start/end date1/1/9112/31/91


  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Fingerprint Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.