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

Chemical modification of essential histidine residues in aspartase with diethylpyrocarbonate.

Aspartase purified from Escherichia coli W cells was inactivated by diethylpyrocarbonate following pseudo-first order kinetics. Upon treatment of the inactivated enzyme with NH2OH, the enzyme activity was completely restored. The difference absorption spectrum of the modified vs. native enzyme preparations exhibited a prominent peak around 240 nm. The pH-dependence of the inactivation rate suggested that an amino acid residue having a pK value of 6.6 was involved in the inactivation. These results indicate that the inactivation was due to the modification of histidine residues. L-Aspartate and fumarate, substrates for the enzyme, and the Cl- ion, an inhibitor, protected the enzyme against the inactivation. Inspection of the spectral change at 240 nm associated with the inactivation in the presence and absence of the Cl- ion revealed that the number of histidine residues essential for the enzyme activity was less than two. Partial inactivation did not result in an appreciable change in the substrate saturation profiles. These results suggest that one or two histidine residues are located at the active site of aspartase and participate in an essential step in the catalytic reaction.[1]


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