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

Divalent cation and prenyl pyrophosphate specificities of the protein farnesyltransferase from rat brain, a zinc metalloenzyme.

The separate catalytic roles of Zn2+ and Mg2+ and the specificity of the prenyl pyrophosphate-binding site of the rat brain protein farnesyltransferase were explored using a purified enzyme preparation. The binding of p21Hras to the enzyme was abolished by dialysis against EDTA and restored by addition of ZnCl2, as demonstrated by chemical cross-linking. The binding of the other substrate, farnesyl pyrophosphate, was independent of divalent cations, as demonstrated by gel filtration. Transfer of the enzyme-bound farnesyl group to the bound p21Hras required Mg2+. Geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate bound to the prenyl pyrophosphate-binding site with an affinity equal to that of farnesyl pyrophosphate, but the geranylgeranyl group was not transferred efficiently to p21Hras. It also was not transferred to a modified p21Hras containing COOH-terminal leucine, a protein that was shown previously to be a good substrate for a rat brain geranylgeranyltransferase. We conclude that the protein farnesyltransferase is a metalloenzyme that most likely contains Zn2+ at the peptide-binding site. It thus resembles certain metallopeptidases, including carboxypeptidase A and the angiotensin-converting enzyme. Strategies previously developed to screen for inhibitors of those enzymes may aid in the search for inhibitors of the protein farnesyltransferase.[1]


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