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Biochemistry. 1988 Jul 12;27(14):4966-70.

Inhibition of alanine racemase by alanine phosphonate: detection of an imine linkage to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate in the enzyme-inhibitor complex by solid-state 15N nuclear magnetic resonance.

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  • 1Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


Inhibition of alanine racemase from the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus stearothermophilus by (1-aminoethyl) phosphonic acid (Ala-P) proceeds via a two-step reaction pathway in which reactivation occurs very slowly. In order to determine the mechanism of inhibition, we have recorded low-temperature, solid-state 15N NMR spectra from microcrystals of the [15N]Ala-P-enzyme complex, together with spectra of a series of model compounds that provide the requisite database for the interpretation of the 15N chemical shifts. Proton-decoupled spectra of the microcrystals exhibit a line at approximately 150 ppm, which conclusively demonstrates the presence of a protonated Ala-P-PLP aldimine and thus clarifies the structure of the enzyme-inhibitor complex. We also report the pH dependence of Ala-P binding to alanine racemase.

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