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Structure. 1999 May;7(5):539-48.

Helix swapping between two alpha/beta barrels: crystal structure of phosphoenolpyruvate mutase with bound Mg(2+)-oxalate.

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  • 1Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Rockville 20850, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Phosphonate compounds are important secondary metabolites in nature and, when linked to macromolecules in eukaryotes, they might play a role in cell signaling. The first obligatory step in the biosynthesis of phosphonates is the formation of a carbon-phosphorus bond by converting phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to phosphonopyruvate (P-pyr), a reaction that is catalyzed by PEP mutase. The PEP mutase functions as a tetramer and requires magnesium ions (Mg2+).

RESULTS:

The crystal structure of PEP mutase from the mollusk Mytilus edulis, bound to the inhibitor Mg(2+)-oxalate, has been determined using multiwavelength anomalous diffraction, exploiting the selenium absorption edge of a selenomethionine-containing protein. The structure has been refined at 1.8 A resolution. PEP mutase adopts a modified alpha/beta barrel fold, in which the eighth alpha helix projects away from the alpha/beta barrel instead of packing against the beta sheet. A tightly associated dimer is formed, such that the two eighth helices are swapped, each packing against the beta sheet of the neighboring molecule. A dimer of dimers further associates into a tetramer. Mg(2+)-oxalate is buried close to the center of the barrel, at the C-terminal ends of the beta strands.

CONCLUSIONS:

The tetramer observed in the crystal is likely to be physiologically relevant. Because the Mg(2+)-oxalate is inaccessible to solvent, substrate binding and dissociation might be accompanied by conformational changes. A mechanism involving a phosphoenzyme intermediate is proposed, with Asp58 acting as the nucleophilic entity that accepts and delivers the phosphoryl group. The active-site architecture and the chemistry performed by PEP mutase are different from other alpha/beta-barrel proteins that bind pyruvate or PEP, thus the enzyme might represent a new family of alpha/beta-barrel proteins.

PMID:
10378273
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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