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

Role of cysteine residues in Pseudomonas mevalonii 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase. Site-directed mutagenesis and characterization of the mutant enzymes.

Each of the four identical subunits of Pseudomonas mevalonii 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase contains two cysteine residues, Cys156 and Cys296 (Beach, M. J., and Rodwell, V. W. (1989) J. Bacteriol. 171, 2994-3001). Both are accessible to modification by sulfhydryl reagents under nondenaturing conditions (Jordan-Starck, T. C., and Rodwell, V. W. (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264, 17913-17918). We used site-directed mutagenesis to construct three mutant enzymes in which alanine replaced either or both cysteine residues. Mutant enzymes C156A, C296A, and C156/296A were over-expressed in Escherichia coli and were found to be fully active. Following their purification, all four forms of the enzyme were compared with respect to their catalytic efficiency, their affinities for the substrates of all four catalyzed reactions, and for their sensitivity to inactivation by sulfhydryl reagents. Replacement of cysteine residues with alanine residues had no major effect on either the specific activity or the affinity of the enzymes for any substrate. The mutants catalyzed all four HMG-CoA reductase reactions as efficiently as did the wild-type enzyme, and coenzyme A stimulated mevaldehyde reduction to the same extent as for wild-type HMG-CoA reductase. Mutant C156A and the cysteine-free mutant C156/296A were not inactivated by 5,5'-dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoate). By contrast, mutant C296A was inactivated to the same extent as was the wild-type enzyme. Following treatment of the mutant enzymes with N-ethylmaleimide, the four reductase reactions catalyzed by mutant C296A were inactivated to the same extent as for the wild-type enzyme. Neither mutant C156A nor C156/296A was affected by this reagent. We conclude that the sulfhydryl reagent-reactive group whose derivatization leads to loss of enzymatic activity is Cys156. However, this residue is not an essential active site residue since neither substrate binding nor catalysis was affected when it was replaced by alanine. Possible roles of cysteine in maintaining structural stability are discussed.[1]


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