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

Mechanism of mutual activation of the tryptophan synthase alpha and beta subunits. Analysis of the reaction specificity and substrate-induced inactivation of active site and tunnel mutants of the beta subunit.

The origin of reaction and substrate specificity and the control of activity by protein-protein interaction are investigated using the tryptophan synthase alpha 2 beta 2 complex from Salmonella typhimurium. We have compared some spectroscopic and kinetic properties of the wild type beta subunit and five mutant forms of the beta subunit that have altered catalytic properties. These mutant enzymes, which were engineered by site-directed mutagenesis, have single amino acid replacements in either the active site or in the wall of a tunnel that extends from the active site of the alpha subunit to the active site of the beta subunit in the alpha 2 beta 2 complex. We find that the mutant alpha 2 beta 2 complexes have altered reaction and substrate specificity in beta-elimination and beta-replacement reactions with L-serine and with beta-chloro-L-alanine. Moreover, the mutant enzymes, unlike the wild type alpha 2 beta 2 complex, undergo irreversible substrate-induced inactivation. The mechanism of inactivation appears to be analogous to that first demonstrated by Metzler's group for inhibition of two other pyridoxal phosphate enzymes. Alkaline treatment of the inactivated enzyme yields apoenzyme and a previously described pyridoxal phosphate derivative. We demonstrate for the first time that enzymatic activity can be recovered by addition of pyridoxal phosphate following alkaline treatment. We conclude that the wild type and mutant alpha 2 beta 2 complexes differ in the way they process the amino acrylate intermediate. We suggest that the wild type beta subunit undergoes a conformational change upon association with the alpha subunit that alters the reaction specificity and that the mutant beta subunits do not undergo the same conformational change upon subunit association.[1]


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