Characterization of dimethylargininase from bovine brain: evidence for a zinc binding site

Biochemistry. 1998 Apr 7;37(14):4791-8. doi: 10.1021/bi972312t.


Dimethylargininase (EC is involved in the regulation of the levels of the natural occurring free arginine derivatives L-Nomega,Nomega-dimethylarginine and L-Nomega-methylarginine, which are reversible inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase. A dimethylargininase has been isolated from bovine brain tissue and was characterized by using immunological, kinetic, and spectroscopic techniques. Western blot analysis using polyclonal antibodies revealed that the enzyme is widely distributed in bovine with the highest relative concentrations found in brain and kidney tissue. A similar tissue distribution has also been reported for the other so far isolated dimethylargininase from rat kidney [Ogawa, T., Kimoto, M., and Sasaoka, K. (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264, 10205-10209]. The bovine enzyme is a monomeric, globular protein (molecular mass approximately 31.2 kDa) containing one tightly bound Zn2+ ion, which can be removed by dialysis against 1,10-phenanthroline. The determination of kinetic constants for both the native (holo-protein) and the zinc-depleted (apo-protein) enzyme at 37 degrees ¿C established that the dimethylargininase is not a zinc hydrolase. The specific activity was 0.66 unit/mg for the holo-protein and 0.19 unit/mg for the apo-protein. The secondary structure determination of the native enzyme by circular dichroism revealed 41% alpha-helix and 32% beta-sheet and beta-turn structure. In the apo-enzyme, a small, but significant decrease in the alpha-helical content (5%) was observed, consistent with a marked decrease in enzymatic activity to 30%. Upon preincubation of both enzyme forms at 50 degrees C, only the holo-enzyme showed a residual enzymatic activity. In thermostability studies, a 7 degrees C lower apparent Tm value was observed for the apo-enzyme compared to the 66 degrees C for the holo-enzyme, suggesting that the zinc ion has a structure-stabilizing role. Besides the tightly bound zinc, additional Zn2+ ions inhibit the enzyme competitively with a Ki value of 2.0 microM. A possible interrelationship between dimethylargininase and nitric oxide synthase is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amidohydrolases*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Cattle
  • Circular Dichroism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrolases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Hydrolases / chemistry*
  • Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Hydrolases
  • Amidohydrolases
  • dimethylargininase
  • Zinc