Heparin lyase I has been purified from Flavobacterium heparinum and has been partially characterized (Yang, V. C., Linhardt, R. J., Berstein, H., Cooney, C. L., and Langer, R. (1985) J. Biol. Chem. 260, 1849-1857). There has been no report of the purification of the other polysaccharide lyases from this organism. Although all three of these heparin/heparan sulfate lyases are widely used, with the exception of heparin lyase I, there is no information on their purity or their physical and kinetic characteristics. The absence of pure heparin lyases and a lack of understanding of the optimal catalytic conditions and substrate specificity has stood in the way of the use of these enzymes as reagents for the specific depolymerization of heparin and heparan sulfate into oligosaccharides for structure and activity studies. This paper describes a single, reproducible scheme to simultaneously purify all three of the heparin lyases from F. heparinum to apparent homogeneity. Heparin lyase I (heparinase, EC 188.8.131.52), heparin lyase II (no EC number), and heparin lyase III (heparitinase, EC 184.108.40.206) have molecular weights (by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) and isoelectric points (by isoelectric focusing) of M(r) 42,800, pI 9.1-9.2, M(r) 84,100, pI 8.9-9.1, M(r) 70,800, pI 9.9-10.1, respectively. Their amino acid analyses and peptide maps demonstrate that while these proteins are different gene products they are closely related. The kinetic properties of the heparin lyases have been determined as well as the conditions to optimize their activity and stability. These data should improve the application of these important enzymes in the study of heparin and heparan sulfate.
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