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

pH-dependent inhibitory effects of tris and lithium ion on intestinal brush-border sucrase.

Tris and two of its hydroxylated amine analogs were examined in a metal-free, universal n-butylamine buffer, for their interaction with intestinal brush border sucrase. Our recent three-proton-families model (Vasseur, van Melle, Frangne and Alvarado (1988) Biochem. J., 251, 667-675) has provided the sucrase pK values necessary to interpret the present work. At pH 5.2, 2-amino-2-methyl-l-propanol (PM) causes activation whereas Tris has a concentration-dependent biphasic effect, first causing activation, then fully competitive inhibition. The amine species causing activation is the protonated, cationic form. The difference between the two amines is related to the fact that Tris has a much lower pKa value than PM (respectively, 8.2 and 9.8). Even at pH 5.2, Tris (but not PM) exists as a significant proportion of the free base which, by inhibiting the enzyme fully competitively, overshadows the activating effect of the cationic, protonated amine. Above pH 6.8, both Tris and PM act as fully competitive inhibitors. These inhibitions increase monotonically between pH 6.5 and 8.0 but, above pH 8, inhibition by 2.5 mM Tris tends to diminish whereas inhibition by 40 mM PM increases abruptly to be essentially complete at pH 9.3 and above. As pH increases from 7.6 to 9.0, the apparent affinity of the free amine bases decreases whereas that of the cationic, protonated amines, increases. In this way, the protonated amines replace their corresponding free bases as the most potent inhibitors at high pH. The pH-dependent inhibition by 300 mM Li+ is essentially complete at pH 8, independent of the presence or absence of either 2.5 mM Tris or 40 mM PM. Even at pH 7.6, an excess (300 mM) of Li+ causes significant increases in the apparent Ki value of each Tris, PD (2-amino-2-methyl-1-3-propanediol) and PM, suggesting the possibility of a relation between the effects of Li+ and those of the hydroxylated amines which in fact are mutually exclusive inhibitors. The inhibitory results are interpreted in terms of a mechanistic model in which the free bases bind at two distinct sites in the enzyme's active center. Binding at the glucosyl sub-site occurs through the amine's free hydroxyl groups. This positioning facilitates the interaction between the lone electron pair of the deprotonated amino group with a proton donor in the enzyme's active center, characterized by a pK0 around 8. 1. When this same group deprotonates, then the protonated amines acting as proton donors replace the free bases as the species giving fully competitive inhibition of sucrase.[1]


  1. pH-dependent inhibitory effects of tris and lithium ion on intestinal brush-border sucrase. Vasseur, M., Frangne, R., Caüzac, M., Mahmood, A., Alvarado, F. J. Enzym. Inhib. (1990) [Pubmed]
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