Role of tyrosine, DOPA and decarboxylase enzymes in the synthesis of monoamines in the brain of the locust

L. Nagy, L. Hiripi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolic transformation of tyrosine (TYR) by the decarboxylase and hydroxylase enzymes was investigated in the central nervous system of the locust, Locusta migratoria. It has been demonstrated that the key amino acids, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) and tyrosine are decarboxylated in all part of central nervous system. DOPA and 5HTP decarboxylase activities show parallel changes in the different ganglia, but the rank order of the activity of TYR decarboxylase is different. Enzyme purification has revealed that the molecular weights of TYR decarboxylase and DOPA/5HTP decarboxylase are 370,000 and 112,000, respectively. The decarboxylation of DOPA by DOPA/5HTP decarboxylase is stimulated, whereas the decarboxylation of DOPA by TYR decarboxylase is inhibited in the presence of the cofactor pyridoxal-5′-phosphate. TYR hydroxylase could not be detected and 3H-TYR is found to be metabolised to tyramine (TA), but not to DOPA. The haemolymph contains a significant concentration of DOPA (120pmol/100μl haemolymph), and the ganglia incorporates DOPA from the haemolymph by a high affinity uptake process (KM=12μM and Vmax=24pmol per ganglion/10min). Our results suggest that no tyrosine hydroxylase is present in the locust CNS and the DOPA uptake into the ganglia by a high affinity uptake process as well as the DOPA decarboxylase enzyme may be responsible for the regulation of the ganglionic dopamine (DA) level. Two types of decarboxylases exist, one of them decarboxylating DOPA and 5HTP (DOPA/5HTP decarboxylase), other decarboxylating TYR (TYR decarboxylase). The DOPA/5HTP decarboxylase enzyme present in the insect brain may correspond to the 5HTP/DOPA decarboxylase in vertebrate brain, whereas TYR decarboxylase is characteristic only for the insect brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalNeurochemistry international
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 6 2002


  • Brain
  • DOPA
  • Decarboxylase
  • Insect
  • Tyrosine
  • Uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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