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

Inactivation of pea seed glutamine synthetase by the toxin, tabtoxinine-beta-lactam.

Glutamine synthetase of plants is the physiological target of tabtoxinine-beta-lactam, a toxin produced by several disease-causing pathovars of Pseudomonas syringae. This toxin, a unique amino acid, is an active site-directed, irreversible inhibitor of glutamine synthetase from pea. ATP is required for inactivation. Neither ADP, AMP, nor adenosine 5'-(beta,gamma-methylene)triphosphate (AMP-PCP) supports inactivation. Adenyl-5'-yl imidophosphate (AMP-PNP) is slowly hydrolyzed by glutamine synthetase to produce adenyl-5'-yl phosphoramidate (AMP-PN) and inorganic phosphate as identified by 31P NMR spectroscopic analysis. AMP-PNP also supports a slow inactivation of glutamine synthetase by tabtoxinine-beta-lactam. These data are consistent with gamma-phosphate transfer being involved in the inactivation. Completely inactivated glutamine synthetase has 0.9 mumol of toxin bound/mumol of subunit. One mumol of ATP is bound per mumol of subunit of glutamine synthetase in the absence of either the toxin or another active site-directed inhibitor, methionine sulfoximine; whereas, a 2nd mumol of either [alpha- or gamma-32P]ATP is bound per mumol of subunit when glutamine synthetase is incubated in the presence of either toxin or methionine sulfoximine until all enzyme activity is lost. These data suggest that the gamma-phosphate hydrolyzed from ATP during inactivation remains with the enzyme-inhibitor complex, as well as the ADP. The open chain form, tabtoxinine, was neither a reversible nor an irreversible inhibitor of glutamine synthetase, suggesting that the beta-lactam ring is necessary for inhibition. The inactivation of glutamine synthetase with tabtoxinine-beta-lactam is pseudo-first-order when done in buffer containing 15% (v/v) ethylene glycol. The rate constant for this reaction is 3 X 10(-2) S-1, and the Ki for the toxin is 1 mM. Removal of the ethylene glycol from the buffer allows the reaction to proceed in a non-first-order manner with the apparent rate constant decreasing with time. As the enzyme is inactivated in these conditions, the binding affinity for the toxin appears to decrease, while the Km observed for glutamate does not change.[1]


  1. Inactivation of pea seed glutamine synthetase by the toxin, tabtoxinine-beta-lactam. Langston-Unkefer, P.J., Robinson, A.C., Knight, T.J., Durbin, R.D. J. Biol. Chem. (1987) [Pubmed]
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