Brain tryptophan hydroxylase: purification of, production of antibodies to, and cellular and ultrastructural localization in serotonergic neurons of rat midbrain
Mixed Function Oxygenases
Tryptophan hydroxylase [EC 126.96.36.199; L-tryptophan, tetrahydropteridine:oxygen oxidoreductase (5-hydroxylating)], the enzyme catalyzing the rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of serotonin, was purified 79-fold from the region of the raphe nucleus of rat midbrain by sequential column chromatography and disc-gel electrophoresis. In electrophoresis three bands were distinguished, A, B, and C, which, when separated and submitted individually to electrophoresis, reproduced the same three bands. Bands A and C were enzymatically active and inhibited by para-chlorohenylalanine. Antibodies produced to each of the three bands crossreacted by immuno double diffusion and electrophoresis with each other and homogenates of raphe nuclei; they completely inhibited enzyme activity only of tryptophan hydroxylase. Tryptophan hydroxylase was localized by light and electron immunohistochemistry to serotonin neutrons of the raphe. Ultrastructurally, in cell bodies, the enzyme was distributed in cytoplasm and in association with endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. In dendrites and axons, it was associated with microtubules. Tryptophan hydroxylase in brain is only neuronal and cytoplasmic, exists in multiple forms, and is associated with microtubules, suggesting it may be transported from sites of synthesis in cell body into axons.