Putrescine oxidase from Rhodococcus erythropolis NCIMB 11540 (PuORh) is a soluble homodimeric flavoprotein of 100 kDa, which catalyzes the oxidative deamination of putrescine and some other aliphatic amines. The initial characterization of PuORh uncovered an intriguing feature: the enzyme appeared to contain only one noncovalently bound FAD cofactor per dimer. Here we show that this low FAD/protein ratio is the result of tight binding of ADP, thereby competing with FAD binding. MS analysis revealed that the enzyme is isolated as a mixture of dimers containing two molecules of FAD, two molecules ADP, or one FAD and one ADP molecule. In addition, based on a structural model of PuORh that was built using the crystal structure of human monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B), we constructed an active mutant enzyme, PuORh A394C, that contains covalently bound FAD. These findings show that the covalent FAD-protein linkage can be formed autocatalytically and hint to a new-found rationale for covalent flavinylation: covalent flavinylation may have evolved to prevent binding of ADP or related cellular compounds, which would prohibit formation of flavinylated and functional enzyme
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