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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 Mar 26;1033(3):256-60.

Activation of mammalian tyrosinase by ferrous ions.

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Stazione Zoologica, Naples, Italy.


Kinetic experiments are reported showing that mammalian tyrosinase from B16 mouse melanoma is significantly activated by catalytic amounts of ferrous ions. Monitoring of tyrosine oxidation by both dopachrome formation and oxygen consumption showed that ferrous ions at micromolar concentrations induce a marked enzymatic activity with 0.01 U/ml of highly purified tyrosinase, whereas no detectable reaction occurs in the absence of metal over a sufficiently prolonged period of time. The extent of the activating effect, which is specific for the reduced form of iron, is proportional to the concentration of the added metal with a typical saturation profile, no further effect being observed beyond a threshold value. Changing the buffer system from phosphate to hepes or tris results in a marked decrease of the Fe2(+)-induced activation. Scavengers of active oxygen species, such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, formate and mannitol have no detectable effect on the tyrosinase activity. These results are accounted for in terms of an activation mechanism involving reduction of the cupric ions at the active site of the resting enzyme.

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