Physiological functions of D-amino acid oxidases: from yeast to humans
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- Pollegioni, L., Piubelli, L., Sacchi, S. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2007) 64: 1373. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-6558-4
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D-Amino acid oxidase (DAAO) is a FAD-containing flavoenzyme that catalyzes the oxidative deamination of D-isomers of neutral and polar amino acids. This enzymatic activity has been identified in most eukaryotic organisms, the only exception being plants. In the various organisms in which it does occur, DAAO fulfills distinct physiological functions: from a catabolic role in yeast cells, which allows them to grow on D-amino acids as carbon and energy sources, to a regulatory role in the human brain, where it controls the levels of the neuromodulator D-serine. Since 1935, DAAO has been the object of an astonishing number of investigations and has become a model for the dehydrogenase-oxidase class of flavoproteins. Structural and functional studies have suggested that specific physiological functions are implemented through the use of different structural elements that control access to the active site and substrate/product exchange. Current research is attempting to delineate the regulation of DAAO functions in the contest of complex biochemical and physiological networks.