Purification and characterization of a molluscan egg-specific NADase, a second-messenger enzyme

Mark R. Hellmich, Felix Strumwasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


An egg-specific NADase has been purified to homogeneity from the ovotestis of the opisthobranch mollusk Aplysia californica. Unlike other NADases, the Aplysia enzyme generates primarily cyclic-ADP-ribose (cADPR) rather than ADP-ribose from NAD. cADPR has been shown to stimulate the release of Ca2+ from microsomes prepared from sea urchin egg and, when injected into intact eggs, to activate the cortical reaction, multiple nuclear cycles, and DNA synthesis. The Aplysia enzyme was initially identified as an inhibitor of cholera and pertussis toxin-catalyzed ADP-ribosylation. By the use of an NADase assay, it was purified from the aqueous-soluble fraction of ovotestis by sequential column chromatography. The enzyme has an apparent molecular mass of 29 kDa, a Km for NAD of 0.7 mM, and a turnover rate of ∼27 000 mol NAD· min-1·mol enzyme-1 at 30°C. Monoclonal antibodies were generated to the NADase. Immunoblots of two-dimensional gels revealed multiple isoforms of the enzyme, with pls ranging from 8.1 to 9.8. The multiple isoforms were resolved with a cation exchange high-pressure liquid chromatography column and shown to generate cADPR. Immunohistochemical analysis of cryostat sections of Aplysia ovotestis shows that the enzyme is specific to the eggs and restricted to large 5- to 10-μm granules or vesicles. To date the cADPR-generating enzyme activity has been identified in various organisms, including mammals. The Aplysia enzyme is the first example in which the enzyme that generates cADPR has been purified. All of the available evidence indicates that this NADase is a second-messenger enzyme, implying that other NADases may serve a similar function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Purification and characterization of a molluscan egg-specific NADase, a second-messenger enzyme'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this