Fungal ornithine esterases: relationship to iron transport

Biochemistry. 1976 Jun 29;15(13):2723-8. doi: 10.1021/bi00658a002.


Extracts of Fusarium roseum (ATCC 12822) contain an enzyme which hydrolyzes the ornithine ester bonds of fusarinine C, a cyclic trihydroxamic acid produced by this organism. The methyl ester of Ndelta-dinitrophenyl-L-ornithine is also a substrate for the enzyme, and an assay was devised using this substrate. The enzyme exhibits a sharp maximum of activity at pH 7.5 and is extremely temperature sensitive. It is strongly inhibited by HgCl2 and p-chloromercuribenzoate, and it is competitively inhibited by Ndelta-dinitrophenyl-D-ornithine methyl ester (Ki = 0.3mM). Methyl esters of glycine, L-alanine, dinitrophenyl-L-alanine, dinitrophenyl-beta-alanine, and Ndelta-dinitrophenyl-Nalpha-acetyl-L-ornithine are not substrates, although Nepsilon-dinitrophenyl-L-lysine methyl ester is as effective as the ornithine derivative. Nonspecific lipases do not hydrolyze ornithine esters, nor does trypsin. The three ester bonds of fusarinine C are progressively hydrolyzed by the enzyme to eventually yield the monomer, fusarinine. The ferric chelate of fusarinine C is not hydrolyzed. An enzyme from Penicillium sp. was isolated with identical properties toward Nbeta-dinitro-phenyl-L-ornithine methyl ester as substrate. It also hydrolyzes N,N',N"-triacetylfusarinine C, a cyclic trihydroxamate containing Nalpha-acetylornithine ester bonds, which is produced by this organism. This substrate is hydrolyzed to Nalpha-acetylfusarine. In contrast to the Fusarium enzyme, this enzyme is fully active toward the ferric trihydroxamate chelate. However, replacement of iron by aluminum leads to a completely inactive substrate. Production of the enzyme is severely suppressed by iron in the growth medium. It is proposed that these specific ornithylesterases provide a mechanism of cellular iron release by hydrolysis of the ferric ionophores, and that an iron-exchange step occurs prior to, and is a prerequisite for, hydrolysis of the ester bonds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Fusarium / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Ornithine / metabolism


  • Ornithine
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases