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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 May 27;259(1):136-40.

Role of tryptophanyl residues in tobacco acetolactate synthase.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, 361-763, Korea.


Acetolactate synthase (ALS) catalyzes the first common step in the biosynthesis of valine, leucine, and isoleucine. ALS is the target of three classes of herbicides, the sulfonylureas, the imidazolinones, and the triazolopyrimidines. Five mutants (W266F, W439F, W490F, W503F, and W573F) of the ALS gene from Nicotiana tabacum were constructed and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the enzymes were purified. The W490F mutation abolished the binding affinity for cofactor FAD and inactivated the enzyme. The replacement of Trp573 by Phe yielded a mutant ALS resistant to the three classes of herbicides. The other three mutations, W266F, W439F, and W503F, did not significantly affect the enzymatic properties and the sensitivity to the herbicides. These results indicate that the Trp490 residue is essential for the binding of FAD and that Trp573 is located at the herbicide binding site. The data also suggest that the three classes of herbicides bind ALS competitively.

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