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J Biol Chem. 2012 Nov 2;287(45):37986-96. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.388231. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Protein-protein interactions in the β-oxidation part of the phenylacetate utilization pathway: crystal structure of the PaaF-PaaG hydratase-isomerase complex.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5E5, Canada.


Microbial anaerobic and so-called hybrid pathways for degradation of aromatic compounds contain β-oxidation-like steps. These reactions convert the product of the opening of the aromatic ring to common metabolites. The hybrid phenylacetate degradation pathway is encoded in Escherichia coli by the paa operon containing genes for 10 enzymes. Previously, we have analyzed protein-protein interactions among the enzymes catalyzing the initial oxidation steps in the paa pathway (Grishin, A. M., Ajamian, E., Tao, L., Zhang, L., Menard, R., and Cygler, M. (2011) J. Biol. Chem. 286, 10735-10743). Here we report characterization of interactions between the remaining enzymes of this pathway and show another stable complex, PaaFG, an enoyl-CoA hydratase and enoyl-Coa isomerase, both belonging to the crotonase superfamily. These steps are biochemically similar to the well studied fatty acid β-oxidation, which can be catalyzed by individual monofunctional enzymes, multifunctional enzymes comprising several domains, or enzymatic complexes such as the bacterial fatty acid β-oxidation complex. We have determined the structure of the PaaFG complex and determined that although individually PaaF and PaaG are similar to enzymes from the fatty acid β-oxidation pathway, the structure of the complex is dissimilar from bacterial fatty acid β-oxidation complexes. The PaaFG complex has a four-layered structure composed of homotrimeric discs of PaaF and PaaG. The active sites of PaaF and PaaG are adapted to accept the intermediary components of the Paa pathway, different from those of the fatty acid β-oxidation. The association of PaaF and PaaG into a stable complex might serve to speed up the steps of the pathway following the conversion of phenylacetyl-CoA to a toxic and unstable epoxide-CoA by PaaABCE monooxygenase.

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