STEAP1, six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of prostate member 1, is strongly expressed in several types of cancer cells, particularly in prostate cancer, and inhibition of its expression reduces the rate of tumor cell proliferation. However, the physiological function of STEAP1 remains unknown. Here for the first time, we purified a mammalian (rabbit) STEAP1 at a milligram level, permitting its high-quality biochemical and biophysical characterizations. We found that STEAP1 likely assembles as a homotrimer and forms a heterotrimer when co-expressed with STEAP2. Each STEAP1 protomer binds one heme prosthetic group that is mainly low-spin with a pair of histidine axial ligands, with small portions of high-spin and P450-type heme. In its ferrous state, STEAP1 is capable of reducing transition metal ion complexes of Fe3+ and Cu2+. Ferrous STEAP1 also reacts readily with O2 through an outer sphere redox mechanism. Kinetics with all three substrates are biphasic with ∼80 and ∼20% for the fast and slow phases, respectively, in line with its heme heterogeneity. STEAP1 retained a low level of bound FAD during purification, and the binding equilibrium constant, KD, was ∼30 μM. These results highlight STEAP as a novel metal reductase and superoxide synthase and establish a solid basis for further research into understanding how STEAP1 activities may affect cancer progression.
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