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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2000;35(6):393-432.

Nucleotide pyrophosphatases/phosphodiesterases on the move.

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  • 1Afdeling Biochemie, Faculteit Geneeskunde, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium


Nucleotide pyrophosphatases/phosphodiesterases (NPPs) release nucleoside 5'-monophosphates from nucleotides and their derivatives. They exist both as membrane proteins, with an extracellular active site, and as soluble proteins in body fluids. The only well-characterized NPPs are the mammalian ecto-enzymes NPP1 (PC-1), NPP2 (autotaxin) and NPP3 (B10; gp130(RB13-6)). These are modular proteins consisting of a short N-terminal intracellular domain, a single transmembrane domain, two somatomedin-B-like domains, a catalytic domain, and a C-terminal nuclease-like domain. The catalytic domain of NPPs is conserved from prokaryotes to mammals and shows remarkable structural and catalytic similarities with the catalytic domain of other phospho-/sulfo-coordinating enzymes such as alkaline phosphatases. Hydrolysis of pyrophosphate/phosphodiester bonds by NPPs occurs via a nucleotidylated threonine. NPPs are also known to auto(de)phosphorylate this active-site threonine, a process accounted for by an intrinsic phosphatase activity, with the phosphorylated enzyme representing the catalytic intermediate of the phosphatase reaction. NPP1-3 have been implicated in various processes, including bone mineralization, signaling by insulin and by nucleotides, and the differentiation and motility of cells. While it has been established that most of these biological effects of NPPs require a functional catalytic site, their physiological substrates remain to be identified.

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