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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 6;102(36):12684-9. Epub 2005 Aug 29.

Three-dimensional structure of human monoamine oxidase A (MAO A): relation to the structures of rat MAO A and human MAO B.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pavia, via Abbiategrasso 207, 27100 Pavia, Italy.


The three-dimensional structure of recombinant human monoamine oxidase A (hMAO A) as its clorgyline-inhibited adduct is described. Although the chain-fold of hMAO A is similar to that of rat MAO A and human MAO B (hMAO B), hMAO A is unique in that it crystallizes as a monomer and exhibits the solution hydrodynamic behavior of a monomeric form rather than the dimeric form of hMAO B and rat MAO A. hMAO A's active site consists of a single hydrophobic cavity of approximately 550 A3, which is smaller than that determined from the structure of deprenyl-inhibited hMAO B (approximately 700 A3) but larger than that of rat MAO A (approximately 450 A3). An important component of the active site structure of hMAO A is the loop conformation of residues 210-216, which differs from that of hMAO B and rat MAO A. The origin of this structural alteration is suggested to result from long-range interactions in the monomeric form of the enzyme. In addition to serving as a basis for the development of hMAO A specific inhibitors, these data support the proposal that hMAO A involves a change from the dimeric to the monomeric form through a Glu-151 --> Lys mutation that is specific of hMAO A [Andrès, A. M., Soldevila, M., Navarro, A., Kidd, K. K., Oliva, B. & Bertranpetit, J. (2004) Hum. Genet. 115, 377-386]. These considerations put into question the use of MAO A from nonhuman sources in drug development for use in humans.

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