Human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) hydrolyzes cocaine to inactive metabolites. A mutant of human BChE, A328W, hydrolyzed cocaine 15-fold faster compared with wild-type BChE. Although the catalytic properties of human BChE secreted by Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are identical to those of native BChE, a major difference became evident when the recombinant BChE was injected into rats and mice. Recombinant BChE disappeared from the circulation within minutes, whereas native BChE stayed in the blood for a week. Nondenaturing gel electrophoresis showed that the recombinant BChE consisted mainly of monomers and dimers. In contrast, native BChE is a tetramer. The problem of the short residence time was solved by finding a method to assemble the recombinant BChE into tetramers. Coexpression in CHO cells of BChE and 45 residues from the N terminus of the COLQ protein yielded 70% tetrameric BChE. The resulting purified recombinant BChE tetramers had a half-life of 16 h in the circulation of rats and mice. The 16-h half-life was achieved without modifying the carbohydrate content of recombinant BChE. The protective effect of recombinant wild-type and A328W mutant BChE against cocaine toxicity was tested by measuring locomotor activity in mice. Pretreatment with wild-type BChE or A328W tetramers at a dose of 2.8 units/g i.p. reduced cocaineinduced locomotor activity by 50 and 80%. These results indicate that recombinant human BChE could be useful for treating cocaine toxicity in humans.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
|Published - 2002
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine