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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mechanism of the beta-ketoacyl synthase reaction catalyzed by the animal fatty acid synthase.

The catalytic mechanism of the beta-ketoacyl synthase domain of the multifunctional fatty acid synthase has been investigated by a combination of mutagenesis, active-site titration, product analysis, and product inhibition. Neither the reactivity of the active-site Cys161 residue toward iodoacetamide nor the rate of unidirectional transfer of acyl moieties to Cys161 was significantly decreased by replacement of any of the conserved residues, His293, His331, or Lys326, with Ala. Decarboxylation of malonyl moieties in the fully-active Cys161Gln background generated equimolar amounts of acetyl-CoA and bicarbonate, rather than carbon dioxide, and was seriously compromised by replacement of any of the conserved basic residues. The ability of bicarbonate to inhibit decarboxylation of malonyl moieties in the Cys161Gln background was significantly reduced by replacement of His293 but less so by replacement of His331. The data are consistent with a reaction mechanism, in which the initial primer transfer reaction is promoted largely through a lowering of the pKa of the Cys161 thiol by a helix dipole effect and activation of the substrate thioester carbon atom by binding of the keto group in an oxyanion hole. The data also indicate that an activated water molecule is present at the active site that is required either for the rapid hydration of carbon dioxide, prior its release as bicarbonate or, alternatively, for an initial attack on the malonyl C3. In the alternative mechanism, a negatively-charged tetrahedral transition state could be generated, stabilized in part by interaction of His293 with the negatively charged oxygen at C3 and interaction of His331 with the negatively charged thioester carbonyl oxygen, that breaks down to generate bicarbonate directly. Finally, the carbanion at C2, attacks the electrophilic C1 of the primer, generating a second tetrahedral transition state, also stabilized through contacts with the oxyanion hole and His331, that breaks down to form the beta-ketoacyl-S-acyl carrier protein product.[1]


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