Kinetic analysis of effector modulation of butyrylcholinesterase-catalysed hydrolysis of acetanilides and homologous esters

Patrick Masson, Marie Thérèse Froment, Emilie Gillon, Florian Nachon, Oksana Lockridge, Lawrence M. Schopfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The effects of tyramine, serotonin and benzalkonium on the esterase and aryl acylamidase activities of wild-type human butyrylcholinesterase and its peripheral anionic site mutant, D70G, were investigated. The kinetic study was carried out under steady-state conditions with neutral and positively charged aryl acylamides [o-nitrophenylacetanilide, o-nitrotrifluorophenylacetanilide and m-(acetamido) N,N,N-trimethylanilinium] and homologous esters (o-nitrophenyl acetate and acetylthiocholine). Tyramine was an activator of hydrolysis for neutral substrates and an inhibitor of hydrolysis for positively charged substrates. The affinity of D70G for tyramine was lower than that of the wild-type enzyme. Tyramine activation of hydrolysis for neutral substrates by D70G was linear. Tyramine was found to be a pure competitive inhibitor of hydrolysis for positively charged substrates with both wild-type butyrylcholinesterase and D70G. Serotonin inhibited both esterase and aryl acylamidase activities for both positively charged and neutral substrates. Inhibition of wild-type butyrylcholinesterase was hyperbolic (i.e. partial) with neutral substrates and linear with positively charged substrates. Inhibition of D70G was linear with all substrates. A comparison of the effects of tyramine and serotonin on D70G versus the wild-type enzyme indicated that: (a) the peripheral anionic site is involved in the nonlinear activation and inhibition of the wild-type enzyme; and (b) in the presence of charged substrates, the ligand does not bind to the peripheral anionic site, so that ligand effects are linear, reflecting their sole interaction with the active site binding locus. Benzalkonium acted as an activator at low concentrations with neutral substrates. High concentrations of benzalkonium caused parabolic inhibition of the activity with neutral substrates for both wild-type butyrylcholinesterase and D70G, suggesting multiple binding sites. Benzalkonium caused linear, noncompetitive inhibition of the positively charged aryl acetanilide m-(acetamido) N,N,N-trimethylanilinium for D70G, and an unusual mixed-type inhibition/activation (α > β > 1) for wild-type butyrylcholinesterase with this substrate. No fundamental difference was observed between the effects of ligands on the butyrylcholinesterase-catalysed hydrolysis of esters and amides. Thus, butyrylcholinesterase uses the same machinery, i.e. the catalytic triad S198/H448/E325, for the hydrolysis of both types of substrate. The differences in response to ligand binding depend on whether the substrates are neutral or positively charged, i.e. the differences depend on the function of the peripheral site in wild-type butyrylcholinesterase, or the absence of its function in the D70G mutant. The complex inhibition/activation effects of effectors, depending on the integrity of the peripheral anionic site, reflect the allosteric 'cross-talk' between the peripheral anionic site and the catalytic centre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2617-2631
Number of pages15
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Aryl acylamidase
  • Benzalkonium
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Serotonin
  • Tyramine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Kinetic analysis of effector modulation of butyrylcholinesterase-catalysed hydrolysis of acetanilides and homologous esters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this