The influence of proteins on phospholipase A2was found to depend strongly on the enzyme assay system. We have used three different systems to measure phospholipase A2which represent the different assay conditions used by a number of previous investigators. Two distinct stimulatory and two distinct inhibitory effects of proteins were observed. (1) A previous investigators. Two distinct stimulatory and two distinct inhibitory effects of proteins were observed. (1) A number of proteins - such as albumin, γ-globulin and lysozyme - were found to inhibit phospholipase A2activity only at very low substrate concentrations. This 'substrate depletion' was recently proposed as the mode of action for lipocortin. We therefore suggest that substrate depletion is not sufficiently specific to serve as a physiological regulatory mechanism and that the observed inhibition by lipocortin and other proteins more recently reported to mimic it are unlikely to be of physiological significance. (2) Use of liposomes at higher concentrations led to a nonlinear time-course. In this assay system, albumin (and other protein) stimulation can be accounted for as relief of product inhibition. (3) With high concentrations of phospholipids in the presence of cholate (mixed micelles), the behavior of proteins in the assay was complex. The assay time-course appeared linear in the absence of added protein, but at concentrations of added albumin up to 1 mg/ml, stimulation of phospholipase A2activity was observed. Concentrations greater than this led to diminution of enzyme activity to the original activity. No effect whatever was observed when lysozyme was substituted for albumin. Since this biphasic result was not observed with liposomes, we suggest that the product whose inhibition is being relieved is the lysophosphatidylcholine, and not the free fatty acid. The inhibitory effect at high albumin concentrations is probably the result of removal of free fatty acids from the micelle: fatty acids are known to cause stimulation of phospholipase A2by providing a negative charge to the lipid/water interface. (4) A different type of phospholipase A2stimulation was apparent with melittin. This was found to be more specific than generally believed: we found no melittin stimulation of pancreatic phospholipase A2, yet confirmed a several-fold stimulation of bee venom phospholipase A2. We also found that high (millimolar) concentrations of calcium suppressed the melittin stimulation of bee venom phospholipase A2, and that a cationic detergent mimicked the stimulation by melittin. (5) We conclude that the effects of proteins on phospholipase A2studied here can all be explained by proteins binding to substrate or product rather than enzyme-protein interactions. © 1989.
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