It is known that the majority of cocaine users also consume alcohol. Alcohol can react with cocaine to produce a significantly more cytotoxic compound, cocaethylene. Hence a truly valuable cocaine-metabolizing enzyme as treatment for cocaine abuse/overdose should be efficient for not only cocaine itself, but also cocaethylene. The catalytic parameters (kcat and KM) of human BChE (butyrylcholinesterase) and two mutants (known as cocaine hydrolases E14-3 and E12-7) for cocaethylene are characterized in the present study, for the first time, in comparison with those for cocaine. On the basis of the obtained kinetic data, wild-type human BChE has a lower catalytic activity for cocaethylene (kcat=3.3 min−1, KM=7.5 μM and kcat/KM=4.40×105 M−1·min−1) compared with its catalytic activity for (−)-cocaine. E14-3 and E12-7 have a considerably improved catalytic activity against cocaethylene compared with the wild-type BChE. E12-7 is identified as the most efficient enzyme for hydrolysing cocaethylene in addition to its high activity for (−)-cocaine. E12-7 has an 861-fold improved catalytic efficiency for cocaethylene (kcat=3600 min−1, KM=9.5 μM and kcat/KM=3.79×108 M−1·min−1). It has been demonstrated that E12-7 as an exogenous enzyme can indeed rapidly metabolize cocaethylene in rats. Further kinetic modelling has suggested that E12-7 with an identical concentration as that of the endogenous BChE in human plasma can effectively eliminate (−)-cocaine, cocaethylene and norcocaine in simplified kinetic models of cocaine abuse and overdose associated with the concurrent use of cocaine and alcohol.
Kinetic characterization of human butyrylcholinesterase mutants for the hydrolysis of cocaethylene
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Shurong Hou, Max Zhan, Xirong Zheng, Chang-Guo Zhan, Fang Zheng; Kinetic characterization of human butyrylcholinesterase mutants for the hydrolysis of cocaethylene. Biochem J 15 June 2014; 460 (3): 447–457. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BJ20140360
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