ABSTRACT Phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase (3-sn-phosphatidate phosphohydrolase, EC 22.214.171.124), also known as PAP, catalyzes the dephosphorylation of phosphatidic acid (PtdOH) to form diacylglycerol (DAG) and inorganic orthophosphate. In eukaryotes, the PAP driven reaction is the committed step in the synthesis of triacylglycerol (TAG). Existing methods for measuring PAP activity rely on the use of radioactive PtdOH. These methods are costly and cumbersome. In this report, we describe a simple assay procedure to measure released inorganic orthophosphate, which is a coproduct of the PAP reaction. Each molecule of PtdOH would release one molecule of DAG and one molecule of inorganic orthophosphate (Pi) when subjected to enzymatic breakdown under optimal conditions. Given the published rates of in vitro PAP enzymatic activity from various sources, we proposed that colorimetric determination of released Pi is possible. With this view, we performed in vitro PAP activity assays using freshly isolated enzyme from bitter gourd, Momordica charantia, and measured the released Pi using two spectrophotometric methods. Both methods gave about 2.0 to 2.25 ηkat per mg of protein. Thus, it is now possible to perform PAP activity using a simple procedure that uses nonradioactive substrates, provided the sample is dialyzed extensively to lower the intrinsic concentration of free phosphate. The kinetics data presented in this study is comparable to that of other PAP enzymes reported elsewhere, which gives credence to the notion that non-radioactive methods can be used to perform PAP activity.
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