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Biochemistry. 2001 Aug 28;40(34):10204-12.

A kinetic analysis of the catalase activity of myeloperoxidase.

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Free Radical Research Group, Biomedical Research Unit, Department of Pathology, Christchurch School of Medicine, P.O. Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand.


The predominant physiological activity of myeloperoxidase is to convert hydrogen peroxide and chloride to hypochlorous acid. However, this neutrophil enzyme also degrades hydrogen peroxide to oxygen and water. We have undertaken a kinetic analysis of this reaction to clarify its mechanism. When myeloperoxidase was added to hydrogen peroxide in the absence of reducing substrates, there was an initial burst phase of hydrogen peroxide consumption followed by a slow steady state loss. The kinetics of hydrogen peroxide loss were precisely mirrored by the kinetics of oxygen production. Two mols of hydrogen peroxide gave rise to 1 mol of oxygen. With 100 microM hydrogen peroxide and 6 mM chloride, half of the hydrogen peroxide was converted to hypochlorous acid and the remainder to oxygen. Superoxide and tyrosine enhanced the steady-state loss of hydrogen peroxide in the absence of chloride. We propose that hydrogen peroxide reacts with the ferric enzyme to form compound I, which in turn reacts with another molecule of hydrogen peroxide to regenerate the native enzyme and liberate oxygen. The rate constant for the two-electron reduction of compound I by hydrogen peroxide was determined to be 2 x 10(6) M(-1) s(-1). The burst phase occurs because hydrogen peroxide and endogenous donors are able to slowly reduce compound I to compound II, which accumulates and retards the loss of hydrogen peroxide. Superoxide and tyrosine drive the catalase activity because they reduce compound II back to the native enzyme. The two-electron oxidation of hydrogen peroxide by compound I should be considered when interpreting mechanistic studies of myeloperoxidase and may influence the physiological activity of the enzyme.

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