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Protein Sci. 2000 Jan;9(1):53-63.

The use of nucleotide analogs to evaluate the mechanism of the heterotropic response of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase.

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Department of Chemistry, Merkert Chemistry Center, Boston College, Massachusetts 02467, USA.


As an alternative method to study the heterotropic mechanism of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase, a series of nucleotide analogs were used. These nucleotide analogs have the advantage over site-specific mutagenesis experiments in that interactions between the backbone of the protein and the nucleotide could be evaluated in terms of their importance for function. The ATP analogs purine 5'-triphosphate (PTP), 6-chloropurine 5'-triphosphate (Cl-PTP), 6-mercaptopurine 5'-triphosphate (SH-PTP), 6-methylpurine 5'-triphosphate (Me-PTP), and 1-methyladenosine 5'-triphosphate (Me-ATP) were partially synthesized from their corresponding nucleosides. Kinetic analysis was performed on the wild-type enzyme in the presence of these ATP analogs along with GTP, ITP, and XTP. PTP, Cl-PTP, and SH-PTP each activate the enzyme at subsaturating concentrations of L-aspartate and saturating concentrations of carbamoyl phosphate, but not to the same extent as does ATP. These experiments suggest that the interaction between N6-amino group of ATP and the backbone of the regulatory chain is important for orienting the nucleotide and inducing the displacements of the regulatory chain backbone necessary for initiation of the regulatory response. Me-PTP and Me-ATP also activate the enzyme, but in a more complex fashion, which suggests differential binding at the two sites within each regulatory dimer. The purine nucleotides GTP, ITP, and XTP each inhibit the enzyme but to a lesser extent than CTP. The influence of deoxy and dideoxynucleotides on the activity of the enzyme was also investigated. These experiments suggest that the 2' and 3' ribose hydroxyl groups are not of significant importance for binding and orientation of the nucleotide in the regulatory binding site. 2'-dCTP inhibits the enzyme to the same extent as CTP, indicating that the interactions of the enzyme to the O2-carbonyl of CTP are critical for CTP binding, inhibition, and the ability of the enzyme to discriminate between ATP and CTP. Examination of the electrostatic surface potential of the nucleotides and the regulatory chain suggest that the complimentary electrostatic interactions between the nucleotides and the regulatory chain are important for binding and orientation of the nucleotide necessary to induce the local conformational changes that propagate the heterotropic effect.

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