The Cu,Zn superoxide dismutases from bovine and porcine erythrocytes and from yeast have been investigated with the aim to identify structural differences in relation to possible functional variability in this highly homologous class of protein. The isoelectric points of the bovine, porcine and yeast proteins were found to be 4.8, 5.8 and 4.5 respectively. According to these values the net protein charge, as evaluated by gel electrophoresis, varied more significantly for the porcine protein than for the other two proteins tested. The catalytic constants were found to be higher at pH = 7.6 than at pH = 10.0 for all the three enzymes. This relative increase was much more pronounced in the case of the porcine enzyme. The KM value at pH = 10.0 was also significantly higher for the porcine enzyme. Since the spectroscopic properties of the active sites were identical for the three proteins, these results point to modulation effects by positively charged amino acid residues on the superoxide dismutase activity of these proteins, in a way that the resultant net charge of the protein seems to be as important as specific residues. © 1983 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
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