Extraction of control human spleen glucocerebrosidase with sodium cholate and butan-l-ol reversibly inactivates the enzyme in terms of its ability to hydrolyse the water-soluble substrate 4-methylumbelliferyl beta-D-glucopyranoside (MUGlc). The acidic brain lipid galactocerebroside 3-sulphate (sulphatide) reconstitutes beta-glucosidase activity in a strongly concentration-dependent manner. In this study we show that sulphatide exhibits three critical micellar concentrations (CMCs): CMC1, 3.72 microM; CMC2, 22.6 microM; CMC3, 60.7 microM. We designate the aggregates formed at these CMCs as primary, secondary and tertiary micelles respectively. From the results of kinetic studies performed at various sulphatide concentrations (0.012-248 microM), we found that sulphatide monomers (less than 3 microM) decreased the Km (for MUGlc) of control glucocerebrosidase from 11 to 4.6 mM, and lowered the Vmax. 2-fold. However, secondary and tertiary micelles were required for expression of high control glucocerebrosidase activities. Glucocerebrosidase prepared from the spleen of a patient with non-neuronopathic type 1 Gaucher's disease exhibited a very low Km (2.8 mM) even in the absence of exogenous lipid, and sulphatide monomers had no effect on the mutant enzyme's Km or Vmax. However, secondary or tertiary micelles markedly increased the Vmax. of the type 1 glucocerebrosidase to 60% of the corresponding control enzyme value. In contrast, for the glucocerebrosidase of the neuronopathic type 2 case, although sulphatide decreased the Km from 9.2 to 1.7 mM, the Vmax. never reached more than 5% that of the control enzyme, even at high concentrations of sulphatide. In addition, we found that secondary and tertiary sulphatide micelles enhanced the rate of inactivation of all three glucocerebrosidase preparations by chymotrypsin. Collectively, these results indicate the presence of two sulphatide-binding sites on glucocerebrosidase: one that enhances substrate binding, and another that enhances catalysis.

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