Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Res Toxicol. 1995 Dec;8(8):1029-38.

Enzymatic methylation of arsenic compounds: assay, partial purification, and properties of arsenite methyltransferase and monomethylarsonic acid methyltransferase of rabbit liver.

Author information

Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


A rapid, accurate, in vitro assay utilizing radioactive S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) has been developed for the methylation of arsenite and monomethylarsonate (MMA) by rabbit liver methyltransferases. The assay has been validated by separating, identifying, and measuring the products of the reaction using chloroform extraction, ion exchange chromatography, TLC, or HPLC. The enzymes involved in this pathway, arsenite methyltransferase and MMA methyltransferase, have been purified approximately 2000-fold from rabbit liver. After gel electrophoresis, a single band is obtained with both enzyme activities in it. The pH optima for purified arsenite methyltransferase and monomethylarsonic acid methyltransferase are 8.2 and 8.0, respectively. A thiol, S-adenosylmethionine, and arsenite are required for the partially purified arsenite methyltransferase that catalyzes the synthesis of monomethylarsonate. A different enzyme activity that catalyzes the methylation of monomethylarsonate to dimethylarsinate also requires SAM and a thiol. Even though arsenite methyltransferase and monomethylarsonate methyltransferase have different substrates, pH optima, and saturation concentrations for their substrates, whether the two activities are present on one protein molecule or different protein molecules is still uncertain. Both activities have a molecular mass of 60 kDa as determined by gel exclusion chromatography. There is no evidence at the present time for these enzyme activities being on different protein molecules. Neither arsenate, selenate, selenite, or selenide are methylated by the purified enzyme preparations. Results from the use of crude extracts, often called cytosol, to study the properties of these methyltransferases dealing with arsenic species should be viewed with caution since such crude extracts contain inhibiting and other interfering activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center