Phosphatidate kinase (adenosine 5[prime]-triphosphate:phosphatidic acid phosphotransferase), a novel enzyme of phospholipid metabolism, was detected recently in the plasma membranes of suspension-cultured Catharanthus roseus cells and purified (J.B. Wissing, H. Behrbohm  Plant Physiol 102: 1243-1249). In the present work the properties of phosphatidate kinase are described. The enzyme showed a pH optimum of 6.1 and an isoelectric point of 4.8, and was rather stable in the presence of its substrates. Although the kinase accepted both ATP and GTP, with Km values of about 12 and 18 [mu]M, respectively, the only lipid substrate was phosphatidic acid; neither lysophosphatidic acid nor any other lipid tested was phosphorylated. With 32P- and 14C-labeled diacylglycerol pyrophosphate, the product of the enzyme, it was shown that the kinase catalyzes a reversible reaction. The activity of the extracted enzyme depended on the presence of surfactants such as Triton X-100 or [beta]-octylglucoside, whereas deoxycholate was strongly inhibitory. Kinetic analysis with Triton X-100/phosphatidate mixed micelles performed according to the "surface dilution" kinetic model showed saturation kinetics with respect to both bulk and surface concentration of phosphatidate. The interfacial Michaelis constant for phosphatidate was determined as 0.6 mol %
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