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Biochem J. 2009 Jun 26;421(2):311-22. doi: 10.1042/BJ20090039.

Thioesterase superfamily member 2 (Them2)/acyl-CoA thioesterase 13 (Acot13): a homotetrameric hotdog fold thioesterase with selectivity for long-chain fatty acyl-CoAs.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Them2 (thioesterase superfamily member 2) is a 140-amino-acid protein of unknown biological function that comprises a single hotdog fold thioesterase domain. On the basis of its putative association with mitochondria, accentuated expression in oxidative tissues and interaction with StarD2 (also known as phosphatidylcholine-transfer protein, PC-TP), a regulator of fatty acid metabolism, we explored whether Them2 functions as a physiologically relevant fatty acyl-CoA thioesterase. In solution, Them2 formed a stable homotetramer, which denatured in a single transition at 59.3 degrees C. Them2 exhibited thioesterase activity for medium- and long-chain acyl-CoAs, with Km values that decreased exponentially as a function of increasing acyl chain length. Steady-state kinetic parameters for Them2 were characteristic of long-chain mammalian acyl-CoA thioesterases, with minimal values of Km and maximal values of kcat/Km observed for myristoyl-CoA and palmitoyl-CoA. For these acyl-CoAs, substrate inhibition was observed when concentrations approached their critical micellar concentrations. The acyl-CoA thioesterase activity of Them2 was optimized at physiological temperature, ionic strength and pH. For both myristoyl-CoA and palmitoyl-CoA, the addition of StarD2 increased the kcat of Them2. Enzymatic activity was decreased by the addition of phosphatidic acid/phosphatidylcholine small unilamellar vesicles. Them2 expression, which was most pronounced in mouse heart, was associated with mitochondria and was induced by activation of PPARalpha (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor alpha). We conclude that, under biological conditions, Them2 probably functions as a homotetrameric long-chain acyl-CoA thioesterase. Accordingly, Them2 has been designated as the 13th member of the mammalian acyl-CoA thioesterase family, Acot13.

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