ADP-ribosylation of protein in heart membrane preparations has been shown to be present in adult tissue but absent from early neonate tissue [Piron and McMahon (1990) Biochem. J. 270, 591-597]. To further this observation, the cardiac membrane-bound form of arginine-specific mono-ADP-ribosyltransferase (EC 2.4.2.31) has been characterized. Apparent Km values of 330 and 470 microM were found in heart membrane preparations from rat and quail respectively. The Vmax. value depended greatly on the species of animal studied, and was 1.1 and 48 nmol/min per mg in rat and quail preparations respectively. The specific activity of the enzyme was lowest in pig, intermediate in rat, dog and rabbit, and highest in mouse and quail cardiac membranes. In the rat, the ADP-ribosylation of protein and enzyme activity were very low in heart preparations from 1-15-day-old animals. Thereafter the ADP-ribosylation and enzyme activity increased gradually to adulthood. Bacillus cereus phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, known to hydrolyse glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchors of proteins, released the mono-ADP-ribosyltransferase from membrane preparations of both rat and quail in a dose-dependent, Zn(2+)-inhibited manner. Thus it appears that a membrane-bound form of arginine-specific mono-ADP-ribosyltransferase is present in heart membranes from a variety of species and is not species-specific. The activity of this ADP-ribosyltransferase appears to be developmentally regulated and to be bound to the cardiac membranes by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor.

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