When Naja naja atra phospholipase A2, which contains three tryptophan residues at the 18th, 19th, and 61st positions, was oxidized with N-bromosuccinimide at pH 4.0, its activity decreased in a convex manner with increase in the extent of oxidation of tryptophan residues. The curve shape showed that the tryptophan residue oxidized last is most responsible for the activity. The order of accessibilities of the three tryptophan residues, which was analyzed according to the method reported previously (Mohri et al. (1876) J. Biochem. 100, 883-893), was Trp-61 greater than Trp-19 greater than Trp-18. Thus, Trp-18 was evaluated to be essential for activity. Difference spectra of phospholipase A2 produced by titrating with laurylphosphorylcholine in the presence of Ca2+, which are due in large part to perturbation of the tryptophan residue(s), were retained with phospholipase A2 derivatives containing 1.2 and 2.0 mol of tryptophan residues oxidized but not with the derivative containing 3.0 mol of tryptophan residues oxidized. Such observations led us to assume that Trp-18 is involved in the specific site that interacts with phospholipid.
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