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

An aspartate transcarbamylase lacking catalytic subunit interactions. Study of conformational changes by ultraviolet absorbance and circular dichroism spectroscopy.

A modified form of aspartate transcarbamylase is synthesized by Escherichia coli in the presence of 2-thiouracil which does not exhibit homotropic cooperative interactions between active sites yet retains heterotropic cooperative interactions due to nucleotide binding. The conformational changes induced in the modified enzyme by the binding of different ligands (substrates, substrate analogs, a transition state analog, and nucleotide effectors) were studied using ultraviolet absorbance and circular dichroism difference spectroscopy. Comparison of the results for the modified enzyme and its isolated subunits to those for the native enzyme and its isolated subunits showed that the conformational changes detected by these methods are qualitatively similar in the two enzymes. Comparison of the absorbance difference spectra due to the binding of a transition substrate analog to the intact native or modified enzymes to the corresponding results for the isolated subunits suggested that ligand binding causes an increased exposure to solvent of certain tyrosyl and phenylalanyl residues in the intact enzymes but not in the isolated subunits. This result is consistent with a diminution of subunit contacts due to substrate binding in the course of homotropic interactions in the native enzyme. Such conformational changes, though perhaps necessary for homotropic cooperativity, are not sufficient to cause homotropic cooperativity since the modified enzyme gave identical perturbations. Interactions of the transition state analog, N-(phosphonacetyl)-L-aspartate, with the modified enzyme were studied. Enzyme kinetic data obtained at low aspartate concentrations showed that this transition state analog does not stimulate activity, but rather exhibits the inhibition predicted for the total absence of homotropic cooperative interactions in the modified enzyme. Spectrophotometric titrations of the number of catalytic sites with the transition state analog showed that the modified enzyme and its isolated subunits possess, respectively, four and two high affinity sites for the inhibitor instead of six and three observed in the case of the normal enzyme and its isolated catalytic subunits. These results are correlated with the lower specific enzymatic activities of the modified enzyme and its catalytic subunits compared to the normal corresponding enzymatic species.[1]


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