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Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 25;42(7):1831-41.

Characterization of a mutant Bacillus subtilis adenylosuccinate lyase equivalent to a mutant enzyme found in human adenylosuccinate lyase deficiency: asparagine 276 plays an important structural role.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA.


Adenylosuccinate lyase, an enzyme catalyzing two reactions in purine biosynthesis (the cleavage of either adenylosuccinate or succinylaminoimidazole carboxamide ribotide), has been implicated in a human disease arising from point mutations in the gene encoding the enzyme. Asn(276) of Bacillus subtilis adenylosuccinate lyase, a residue corresponding to the location of a human enzyme mutation, was replaced by Cys, Ser, Ala, Arg, and Glu. The mutant enzymes exhibit decreased V(max) values (2-400-fold lower) for both substrates compared to the wild-type enzyme and some changes in the pH dependence of V(max) but no loss in affinity for adenylosuccinate. Circular dichroism reveals no difference in secondary structure between the wild-type and mutant enzymes. We show here for the first time that wild-type adenylosuccinate lyase exhibits a protein concentration dependence of molecular weight, secondary structure, and specific activity. An equilibrium constant between the dimer and tetramer was measured by light scattering for the wild-type and mutant enzymes. The equilibrium is somewhat shifted toward the tetramer in the mutant enzymes. The major difference between the wild-type and mutant enzymes appears to be in quaternary structure, with many mutant enzymes exhibiting marked thermal instability relative to the wild-type enzyme. We propose that mutations at position 276 result in structurally impaired adenylosuccinate lyases which are assembled into defective tetramers.

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