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J Biol Chem. 1988 May 25;263(15):7406-10.

Expression of human tyrosine hydroxylase cDNA in invertebrate cells using a baculovirus vector.

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  • 1Molecular Neurogenetics Section, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


A human cDNA containing the complete coding sequence for a human tyrosine hydroxylase (EC, form 2) was introduced into the genome of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV) downstream to the polyhedrin promoter. Infection of Spodoptera frugiperda cells (SF9) with recombinant virus resulted in the expression of human tyrosine hydroxylase in these invertebrate cells. Characterization of tyrosine hydroxylase activity in infected SF9 cells demonstrated both substrate and cofactor kinetics that were characteristic of those previously reported for the native human enzyme. Both 3-iodotyrosine and alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine competitively inhibited the recombinantly produced tyrosine hydroxylase with Ki values of 1.2 and 16 microM, respectively, similar to those previously reported for the rat and human enzymes. Western blot analysis of extracts of SF9 cells infected with the recombinant baculovirus containing human tyrosine hydroxylase cDNA revealed a major immunoreactive band with an apparent Mr of 60 kDa, identical to the size of the immunoreactive protein from rat adrenal and caudate nucleus. The use of the baculovirus expression system to produce abundant quantities of each of the multiple forms of active human tyrosine hydroxylase in eukaryotic cells should facilitate structural analysis and help clarify the physiological significance of each of the isoenzymes.

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