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

Homotropic effects in aspartate transcarbamoylase. What happens when the enzyme binds a single molecule of the bisubstrate analog N-phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate?

The active sites of aspartate transcarbamoylase from Escherichia coli were titrated by measuring the decrease in the enzyme-catalyzed arsenolysis of N-carbamoyl-L-aspartate caused by the addition of the tight-binding inhibitor, N-phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate. Because the enzyme is a poor catalyst for this non-physiological reaction, high concentrations are required for the assays (more than 1000-fold the dissociation constant of the reversibly bound inhibitor) and, therefore, virtually all of the bisubstrate analog is bound. From the endpoint of the titration, 5.7 active sites were calculated, in excellent agreement with the number, six, based on the structure of the enzyme. Simple inhibition was observed only when the molar ratio of inhibitor to enzyme exceeded five; under these conditions, as shown in earlier physical chemical studies, the R-conformational state of the enzyme is the sole or predominant species. At low ratios of inhibitor to enzyme, the addition of inhibitor caused an increase in activity which is attributable to the conversion of the enzyme from the low-activity T-state to the much more active R-state. Comparison of the linear increase in activity as a function of inhibitor concentration at the low molar ratio (0.01, i.e. 1 inhibitor/600 active sites) with the activity lost at the high ratio provided a direct value for the mean number of active sites converted from the T-state to the R-state as a result of the binding of one bisubstrate analog to an enzyme molecule. This number was four with Mg X ATP or carbamoyl phosphate present and 4.7 for the enzyme in the presence of Mg X PPi, values approaching or identical to the theoretical maximum, 4.7, for a concerted transition with all of the active sites of the molecule changing from the T- to R-state upon the formation of a binary complex of hexameric enzyme with a single inhibitor. With the enzyme in the absence of effectors or with Mg X CTP present, the titrations showed that an average of two and one sites, respectively, of 4.7 possible, changed conformation upon ligand binding. These results were interpreted as a manifestation of an equilibrium between a sub-population of T- and R-state enzyme complexes containing one bound inhibitor molecule. The R-state species would represent 40% of the population for aspartate transcarbamoylase in the absence of extraneous ligands.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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