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J Biochem. 1999 Jun;125(6):987-90.

Role of tyrosine 265 of alanine racemase from Bacillus stearothermophilus.

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Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto, 611-0011, Japan.


Tyrosine 265 (Y265) of Bacillus stearothermophilus is believed to serve as a catalytic base specific to the L-enantiomer of a substrate amino acid by removing (or returning) an alpha-hydrogen from (or to) the isomer on the basis of the X-ray structure of the enzyme [Stamper, C.G., Morollo, A.A., and Ringe, D. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 10438-10443]. We found that the Y265-->Ala mutant (Y265A) enzyme is virtually inactive as a catalyst for alanine racemization. We examined the role of Y265 further with beta-chloroalanine as a substrate with the expectation that the Y265A mutant only catalyzes the alpha,beta-elimination of the D-enantiomer of beta-chloroalanine. However, L-beta-chloroalanine also served as a substrate; this enantiomer was rather better as a substrate than its antipode. Moreover, the mutant enzyme was as equally active as the wild-type enzyme in the elimination reaction. These findings indicate that Y265 is essential for alanine racemization but not for beta-chloroalanine elimination.

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