PROSITE documentation PDOC00398
Tyrosinase signatures


Tyrosinase (EC [1] is a copper monooxygenases that catalyzes the hydroxylation of monophenols and the oxidation of o-diphenols to o-quinols. This enzyme, found in prokaryotes as well as in eukaryotes, is involved in the formation of pigments such as melanins and other polyphenolic compounds.

Tyrosinase binds two copper ions (CuA and CuB). Each of the two copper ion has been shown [2] to be bound by three conserved histidines residues. The regions around these copper-binding ligands are well conserved and also shared by some hemocyanins, which are copper-containing oxygen carriers from the hemolymph of many molluscs and arthropods [3,4].

At least two proteins related to tyrosinase are known to exist in mammals:

  • TRP-1 (TYRP1) [5], which is responsible for the conversion of 5,6-dihydro- xyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA) to indole-5,6-quinone-2-carboxylic acid.
  • TRP-2 (TYRP2) [6], which is the melanogenic enzyme DOPAchrome tautomerase (EC that catalyzes the conversion of DOPAchrome to DHICA. TRP-2 differs from tyrosinases and TRP-1 in that it binds two zinc ions instead of copper [7].

Other proteins that belong to this family are:

  • Plants polyphenol oxidases (PPO) (EC which catalyze the oxidation of mono- and o-diphenols to o-diquinones [8].
  • Caenorhabditis elegans hypothetical protein C02C2.1.

We have derived two signature patterns for tyrosinase and related proteins. The first one contains two of the histidines that bind CuA, and is located in the N-terminal section of tyrosinase. The second pattern contains a histidine that binds CuB, that pattern is located in the central section of the enzyme.

Last update:

April 2006 / Pattern revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

TYROSINASE_1, PS00497; Tyrosinase CuA-binding region signature  (PATTERN)

TYROSINASE_2, PS00498; Tyrosinase and hemocyanins CuB-binding region signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsLerch K.
TitleProtein and active-site structure of tyrosinase.
SourceProg. Clin. Biol. Res. 256:85-98(1988).
PubMed ID3130643

2AuthorsJackman M.P. Hajnal A. Lerch K.
TitleAlbino mutants of Streptomyces glaucescens tyrosinase.
SourceBiochem. J. 274:707-713(1991).
PubMed ID1901488

3AuthorsLinzen B.
TitleBlue blood: structure and evolution of hemocyanin.
SourceNaturwissenschaften 76:206-211(1989).
PubMed ID2664531

4AuthorsLang W.H. van Holde K.E.
TitleCloning and sequencing of Octopus dofleini hemocyanin cDNA: derived sequences of functional units Ode and Odf.
SourceProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88:244-248(1991).
PubMed ID1898774

5AuthorsKobayashi T. Urabe K. Winder A. Jimenez-Cervantes C. Imokawa G. Brewington T. Solano F. Garcia-Borron J.C. Hearing V.J.
TitleTyrosinase related protein 1 (TRP1) functions as a DHICA oxidase in melanin biosynthesis.
SourceEMBO J. 13:5818-5825(1994).
PubMed ID7813420

6AuthorsJackson I.J. Chambers D.M. Tsukamoto K. Copeland N.G. Gilbert D.J. Jenkins N.A. Hearing V.
TitleA second tyrosinase-related protein, TRP-2, maps to and is mutated at the mouse slaty locus.
SourceEMBO J. 11:527-535(1992).
PubMed ID1537334

7AuthorsSolano F. Martinez-Liarte J.H. Jimenez-Cervantes C. Garcia-Borron J.C. Lozano J.A.
TitleDopachrome tautomerase is a zinc-containing enzyme.
SourceBiochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 204:1243-1250(1994).
PubMed ID7980602

8AuthorsCary J.W. Lax A.R. Flurkey W.H.
TitleCloning and characterization of cDNAs coding for Vicia faba polyphenol oxidase.
SourcePlant Mol. Biol. 20:245-253(1992).
PubMed ID1391768

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