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Biochemistry. 1997 Aug 12;36(32):9655-62.

A double mutation at the tip of the dimer interface loop of triosephosphate isomerase generates active monomers with reduced stability.

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  • 1EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany.


Triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) is a very stable dimer. In order to understand better the importance of dimerization for stability and catalytic activity, we have constructed a monomeric double-mutation variant. The dimer interface residues Thr75 and Gly76, which are at the tip of loop 3, have been substituted by an arginine and a glutamate, respectively. In wild type TIM, these two residues are at a distance of 27 A from the active site (as measured within the same subunit). This new variant, RE-TIM, was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified to homogeneity, and biochemically characterized. Sedimentation equilibrium ultracentrifugation runs showed that RE-TIM is a monomer in solution. Far-UV CD spectra indicate that this new variant is folded properly and that the secondary structure contents of RE-TIM are similar to those of wild type TIM. The monomeric RE-TIM has residual TIM activity. The thermal stability of RE-TIM is lower than that for wild type TIM. CD melting curves for RE-TIM and wild type TIM show Tm values of 52 and 57 degrees C, respectively, in the presence of the active site ligand 2-phosphoglycolate at 1 mM. Previously, we have characterized two other monomeric forms of TIM: monoTIM and H47N-TIM. The properties of RE-TIM, H47N-TIM, and monoTIM are compared, and it is argued that the properties of RE-TIM will be very similar to those of wild type monomeric subunits. This implies that wild type monomeric subunits have some stability and are catalytically active. It is also inferred that these monomeric subunits have flexible loops which rigidify at the dimer interface on dimerization, causing a 1000-fold increase of kcat and a 10-fold decrease of Km.

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