The catalytic efficiency of soybean lipoxygenase-1 is enhanced at low gravity

Mauro Maccarrone, Monica Bari, Natalia Battista, Alessandro Finazzi-Agrò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several cellular processes are modified when cells are placed under conditions of weightlessness. As yet, there is no coherent explanation for these observations, nor it is known which biomolecules might act as gravity sensors. Lipoxygenases generate leukotrienes and lipoxins from arachidonic acid, being responsible for many pharmacological and immunological effects, some of which are known to be affected by microgravity. In the course of the 28th parabolic flight campaign of the European Space Agency we measured the activity of pure soybean lipoxygenase-1 on linoleic acid, by a fibre optics spectrometer developed on purpose. It was found that microgravity reduced the apparent Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) of the enzymatic reaction to one fourth with respect to the 1 g control, whereas, the catalytic constant (kcat) was unaffected. Consequently, the catalytic efficiency of lipoxygenase-1 (kcat/Km) was approximately four-fold higher in flight than on ground. This unprecedented finding suggests that lipoxygenase-1 might be a molecular target for gravity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2001


  • Catalysis
  • Enzymes
  • Humans
  • Lipoxygenase
  • Microgravity
  • Plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Biophysics


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