Tyrosinase (EC 22.214.171.124)  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  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) , 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) , which is the melanogenic enzyme DOPAchrome tautomerase
(EC 126.96.36.199) 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 .
Other proteins that belong to this family are:
Plants polyphenol oxidases (PPO) (EC 188.8.131.52) which catalyze the oxidation
of mono- and o-diphenols to o-diquinones .
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.
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