• apyrase;
  • ATP diphosphohydrolase;
  • CD39;
  • chimera;
  • ecto-ATPase

Ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolases (E-NTPDases) comprise a novel family of ectonucleotidases that are important in the hydrolysis of extracellular nucleotides. The related NTPDase1 (ecto-apyrase) and NTPDase2 (ecto-ATPase) share a common membrane topography with a transmembrane domain at both the N- and C-terminus, an extensive extracellular loop with five ‘apyrase conserved regions’ (ACR1 to ACR5), and a cysteine-rich C-terminal region. Whereas NTPDase1 expressed in CHO cells hydrolyzes ATP and ADP equivalently, NTPDase2 has a high preference for the hydrolysis of ATP over ADP. In addition recombinant NTPDase1 hydrolyzes ATP to AMP with the formation of only minor amounts of free ADP. In contrast, ADP appears as the major free product when ATP is hydrolyzed by NTPDase2. In order to determine molecular domains responsible for these differences in catalytic properties, chimeric cDNAs were constructed in which N-terminal sequences of increasing length of NTPDase1 were substituted by the corresponding sequences of NTPDase2 and vice versa. The turnover points were contained within ACR1 to ACR5. Chimeric cDNAs were expressed in CHO cells and surface expression was verified by immunocytochemistry. ATP and ADP hydrolysis rates and ADP and AMP product formation were determined using HPLC. Amino-acid residues between ACR3 and ACR5 and in particular the cysteine-rich region between ACR4 and ACR5 conferred a phenotype to the chimeric enzymes that corresponded to the respective wild-type enzyme. Protein structure rather than the conserved ACRs may be of major relevance for determining differences in the catalytic properties between the related wild-type enzymes.