Alkylglycerol monooxygenase (E.C. 220.127.116.11), also called glyceryl ether monooxygenase, is a tetrahydrobiopterin-dependent enzyme. It is the only enzyme known to cleave the ether bond of alkylglycerols and lyso-alkylglycerol phospholipids, including lyso-platelet activating factor. Although it has been first described already in 1964, it was not possible so far to purify the protein. It took until 2010 to assign a sequence to this labile integral membrane enzyme by bioinformatic selection of candidate genes, recombinant expression of these, and sensitive monitoring of the enzymatic activity by a fluorescence-based assay. The sequence shows no significant similarity with the other known tetrahydrobiopterin-dependent enzymes but contains the fatty acid hydroxylase protein motif signature. Proteins containing this signature are all labile and catalyze reactions similar to the alkylglycerol monooxygenase reaction. They are thought to use a di-iron centre for catalysis. Site directed mutagenesis of alkylglycerol monooxygenase defined a region of the active site and a conserved glutamate residue important for tetrahydrobiopterin interaction. Current research now focuses on defining a physiological role of this enzyme which occurs not only in mammals but also in commonly used model organisms such as zebrafish and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
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