Substrate selectivity and other enzymic characteristics of two epidermis-derived lipoxygenases (LOXs), the epidermis-type (e) (12S)-LOX and (12R)-LOX, were compared with those of the platelet-type (p) (12S)-LOX. In contrast with p(12S)-LOX, e(12S)-LOX and (12R)-LOX exhibited no or very low reactivity towards the customary substrates linoleic acid and arachidonic acid but metabolized the corresponding fatty acid methyl esters, which, in contrast, were not accepted as substrates by p(12S)-LOX. Other esters of arachidonic acid and linoleic acid, including propan-2-yl and cholesterol esters, 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, 1-palmitoyl-2-linoleyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine, and ceramide 1 carrying an ω-linoleic acid ester, were not metabolized by these three LOX isoenzymes. Among various polyunsaturated fatty acids the isomeric eicosatrienoic acids were found to be oxygenated by e(12S)-LOX but not by (12R)-LOX. 4,7,10,13,16,19-Docosahexaenoic acid as a substrate was restricted to p(12S)-LOX. Variations in the pH and the Ca2+ content of the incubation medium affected the catalytic potential only slightly. Whereas (12R)-LOX activity increased in the presence of Ca2+ and with an acidic pH, Ca2+ had no effect on p(12S)-LOX and e(12S)-LOX; an acidic pH decreased the catalytic activity of the latter two. However, the catalytic activity of the epidermis-type isoenzymes, but not of p(12S)-LOX, was found to be markedly increased in the presence of DMSO. Under these conditions, e(12S)-LOX and (12R)-LOX oxygenated 4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid to 14-hydroxy-4,7,10,12,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid and 13-hydroxy-4,7,10,14,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid respectively. In addition, (9R)-hydroxyoctadeca-10,12-dienoic acid methyl ester was generated from linoleic acid methyl ester by (12R)-LOX. Independently of the substrate, the catalytic activity of e(12S)-LOX and (12R)-LOX was always at most 2% of that of p(12S)-LOX with arachidonic acid as substrate.

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