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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Sep;264(2):434-8.

Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase in excretory-secretory products of the human hookworm Necator americanus. An electron paramagnetic spectrometry study.

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School of Pharmacy, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.


EPR spectrometry was used to investigate the effect of excretory/secretory product from Necator americanus on superoxide radical anions generated by xanthine/xanthine oxidase as a measure of excretory/secretory product superoxide dismutase activity. Using 1,1',5,5'-dimethylpyrollidine-N-oxide (DMPO) as a superoxide spin-trapping agent a 12-line EPR spectrum characteristic of the DMPO-OOH adduct was observed to decrease in the presence of excretory/secretory product. Superoxide dismutase activity was proportional to excretory/secretory protein concentration, was inhibited with cyanide treatment and was progressively destroyed with increasing time of heat denaturation of excretory/secretory product. Using a purpose-built chamber the superoxide dismutase activity of excretory/secretory product from live worms in culture was shown to accumulate with time to a maximum at 4 h. The electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum obtained for the frozen excretory/secretory product of N. americanus recorded at 77 K is typical of Cu(II) in a protein matrix. The results are consistent with the presence of an active Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase in excretory/secretory product from N. americanus and demonstrate a method for the unequivocal determination of the fate of superoxide anions in the presence of live worms.

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