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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 21;280(42):35372-81. Epub 2005 Aug 2.

Characterization of the oxidase activity in mammalian catalase.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Catalase is a highly conserved heme-containing antioxidant enzyme known for its ability to degrade hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. In low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, the enzyme also exhibits peroxidase activity. We report that mammalian catalase also possesses oxidase activity. This activity, which is detected in purified catalases, cell lysates, and intact cells, requires oxygen and utilizes electron donor substrates in the absence of hydrogen peroxide or any added cofactors. Using purified bovine catalase and 10-acetyl-3,7-dihydroxyphenoxazine as the substrate, the oxidase activity was found to be temperature-dependent and displays a pH optimum of 7-9. The Km for the substrate is 2.4 x 10(-4) m, and Vmax is 4.7 x 10(-5) m/s. Endogenous substrates, including the tryptophan precursor indole, the neurotransmitter precursor beta-phenylethylamine, and a variety of peroxidase and laccase substrates, as well as carcinogenic benzidines, were found to be oxidized by catalase or to inhibit this activity. Several dietary plant micronutrients that inhibit carcinogenesis, including indole-3-carbinol, indole-3-carboxaldehyde, ferulic acid, vanillic acid, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, were effective inhibitors of the activity of catalase oxidase. Difference spectroscopy revealed that catalase oxidase/substrate interactions involve the heme-iron; the resulting spectra show time-dependent decreases in the ferric heme of the enzyme with corresponding increases in the formation of an oxyferryl intermediate, potentially reflecting a compound II-like intermediate. These data suggest a mechanism of oxidase activity involving the formation of an oxygen-bound, substrate-facilitated reductive intermediate. Our results describe a novel function for catalase potentially important in metabolism of endogenous substrates and in the action of carcinogens and chemopreventative agents.

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