2015 Volume 38 Issue 2 Pages 298-305
D-Aspartate (D-Asp), a free D-amino acid found in mammals, plays crucial roles in the neuroendocrine, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Recent studies have implicated D-Asp in the pathophysiology of infertility and N-methyl-D-Asp receptor-related diseases. D-Asp oxidase (DDO), a degradative enzyme that is stereospecific for acidic D-amino acids, is the sole catabolic enzyme acting on D-Asp in mammals. Human DDO is considered an attractive therapeutic target, and DDO inhibitors may be potential lead compounds for the development of new drugs against the aforementioned diseases. However, human DDO has not been characterized in detail and, although preclinical studies using experimental rodents are prerequisites for evaluating the in vivo effects of potential inhibitors, the existence of species-specific differences in the properties of human and rodent DDOs is still unclear. Here, the enzymatic activity and characteristics of purified recombinant human DDO were analyzed in detail. The kinetic and inhibitor-binding properties of this enzyme were also compared with those of purified recombinant rat and mouse DDOs. In addition, structural models of human, rat, and mouse DDOs were generated and compared. It was found that the differences among these DDO proteins occur in regions that appear involved in migration of the substrate/product in and out of the active site. In summary, detailed characterization of human DDO was performed and provides useful insights into the use of rats and mice as experimental models for evaluating the in vivo effects of DDO inhibitors.