• adenine deaminase;
  • oxidative damage;
  • amidohydrolase superfamily;
  • catalase activity


Adenine deaminase (ADE) from the amidohydrolase superfamily (AHS) of enzymes catalyzes the conversion of adenine to hypoxanthine and ammonia. Enzyme isolated from Escherichia coli was largely inactive toward the deamination of adenine. Molecular weight determinations by mass spectrometry provided evidence that multiple histidine and methionine residues were oxygenated. When iron was sequestered with a metal chelator and the growth medium supplemented with Mn2+ before induction, the post-translational modifications disappeared. Enzyme expressed and purified under these conditions was substantially more active for adenine deamination. Apo-enzyme was prepared and reconstituted with two equivalents of FeSO4. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Mössbauer spectroscopy demonstrated that this protein contained two high-spin ferrous ions per monomer of ADE. In addition to the adenine deaminase activity, [FeII/FeII]-ADE catalyzed the conversion of H2O2 to O2 and H2O. The values of kcat and kcat/Km for the catalase activity are 200 s−1 and 2.4 × 104 M−1 s−1, respectively. [FeII/FeII]-ADE underwent more than 100 turnovers with H2O2 before the enzyme was inactivated due to oxygenation of histidine residues critical for metal binding. The iron in the inactive enzyme was high-spin ferric with gave = 4.3 EPR signal and no evidence of anti-ferromagnetic spin-coupling. A model is proposed for the disproportionation of H2O2 by [FeII/FeII]-ADE that involves the cycling of the binuclear metal center between the di-ferric and di-ferrous oxidation states. Oxygenation of active site residues occurs via release of hydroxyl radicals. These findings represent the first report of redox reaction catalysis by any member of the AHS.