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

L-serine binds to arginine-148 of the beta 2 subunit of Escherichia coli tryptophan synthase.

Inactivation of the beta 2 subunit and of the alpha 2 beta 2 complex of tryptophan synthase of Escherichia coli by the arginine-specific dicarbonyl reagent phenylglyoxal results from modification of one arginyl residue per beta monomer. The substrate L-serine protects the holo beta 2 subunit and the holo alpha 2 beta 2 complex from both inactivation and arginine modification but has no effect on the inactivation or modification of the apo forms of the enzyme. This result and the finding that phenylglyoxal competes with L-serine in reactions catalyzed by both the holo beta 2 subunit and the holo alpha 2 beta 2 complex indicate that L-serine and phenylglyoxal both bind to the same essential arginyl residue in the holo beta 2 subunit. The apo beta 2 subunit is protected from phenylglyoxal inactivation much more effectively by phosphopyridoxyl-L-serine than by either pyridoxal phosphate or pyridoxine phosphate, both of which lack the L-serine moiety. The phenylglyoxal-modified apo beta 2 subunit binds pyridoxal phosphate and the alpha subunit but cannot bind L-serine or L-tryptophan. We conclude that the alpha-carboxyl group of L-serine and not the phosphate of pyridoxal phosphate binds to the essential arginyl residue in the beta 2 subunit. The specific arginyl residue in the beta 2 subunit which is protected by L-serine from modification by phenyl[2-14C]glyoxal has been identified as arginine-148 by isolating a labeled cyanogen bromide fragment (residues 135-149) and by digesting this fragment with pepsin to yield the labeled dipeptide arginine-methionine (residues 148-149). The primary sequence near arginine-148 contains three other basic residues (lysine-137, arginine-141, and arginine-150) which may facilitate anion binding and increase the reactivity of arginine-148. The conservation of the arginine residues 141, 148, and 150 in the sequences of tryptophan synthase from E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and yeast supports a functional role for these three residues in anion binding. The location and role of the active-site arginyl residues in the beta 2 subunit and in two other enzymes which contain pyridoxal phosphate, aspartate aminotransferase and glycogen phosphorylase, are compared.[1]


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