Human adenosine deaminase. Distribution and properties

J Biol Chem. 1976 Sep 25;251(18):5448-56.


Adenosine deaminase exists in multiple molecular forms in human tissue. One form of the enzyme appears to be "particulate". Three forms of the enzyme are soluble and interconvertible with apparent molecular weights of approximately 36,000, 114,000, and 298,000 (designated small, intermediate, and large, respectively). The small form of adenosine deaminase is convertible to the large form only in the presence of a protein, which has an apparent molecular weight of 200,000 and has no adenosine deaminase activity. This conversion of the small form of the enzyme to the large form occurs at 4 degrees, exhibits a pH optimum of 5.0 to 8.0, and is associated with a loss of conversion activity. The small form of the enzyme predominates in tissue preparations exhibiting the higher enzyme-specific activities and no detectable conversion activity. The large form of adenosine deaminase predominates in tissue extracts exhibiting the lower enzyme specific activities and abundant conversion activity. The small form of adenosine deaminase shows several electrophoretic variants by isoelectric focusing. The electrophoretic heterogeneity observed with the large form of the enzyme is similar to that observed with the small form, with the exception that several additional electrophoretic variants are uniformly identified. No organ specificity is demonstrable for the different electrophoretic forms. The kinetic characteristics of the three soluble molecular species of adenosine deaminase are identical except for pH optimum, which is 5.5 for the intermediate species and 7.0 to 7.4 for the large and small forms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Leukocytes / enzymology
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nucleoside Deaminases / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Conformation


  • Isoenzymes
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Nucleoside Deaminases
  • Adenosine Deaminase