Two isoenzymes of N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (EC (Hex A and Hex B) from human seminal plasma were purified to homogeneity with specific activities of 26 and 60 units/mg of protein respectively. N-Acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase activity was inseparable from N-acetyl-beta-D-galactosaminidase activity in both Hex A and Hex B by various conventional chromatographic procedures. Although Km values of N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activity of Hex A and Hex B were similar (1.33 mM), those of N-acetyl-beta-galactosaminidase activity were 0.14 mM for Hex A and 0.40 mM for Hex B. However, pH optima and temperature optima were identical for N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase and N-acetyl-beta-galactosaminidase activities of both isoenzymes; Hex A was far more heat-sensitive than Hex B. Thiol-reactive compounds such as silver salts, mercuric salts, p-chloromercuribenzoate and thimerosal strongly inhibited the N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activities of both isoenzymes. GSH protected the enzyme activities from inactivation caused by these reagents, confirming the presence of thiol groups at the active centres. Inhibitions of N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activities of both isoenzymes by metal salts and organic anions were comparable; acetate and arsenite were effective inhibitors for both isoenzymes. In contrast, inhibitions of N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activities of the two isoenzymes by iodoacetic acid, iodoacetamide and ethylmaleimide were not comparable; Hex B was more susceptible to inhibition by these agents at 20 mM concentration. The N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase activities of both isoenzymes are strongly inhibited, in decreasing order, by N-acetyl-galactosamine, mannosamine, disaccharic acid lactone, N-acetylglucosamine and gluconolactone. The Ki values of the N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase and N-acetyl-beta-galactosaminidase activities for N-acetylhexosamines and results from mixed-substrate kinetics indicated that the activities for the two substrates are located at different sites in Hex A and at the same site in Hex B. The Mr values of Hex A and Hex B were determined to be 195,000 and 210,000 respectively by gel filtration through Sephadex G-200. SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis revealed that Hex A and Hex B are each composed of four subunits corresponding to Mr about 50,000 each. No further polypeptide chain was obtained after reduction and alkylation of Hex A and Hex B with 10 mM-dithiothreitol and 10 mM-iodoacetamide.

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