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Eur J Biochem. 2001 Feb;268(3):686-93.

The cysteine synthase complex from plants. Mitochondrial serine acetyltransferase from Arabidopsis thaliana carries a bifunctional domain for catalysis and protein-protein interaction.

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Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung, Gatersleben, Germany.


Serine acetyltransferase (SAT) catalyzes the rate-limiting step of cysteine biosynthesis in bacteria and plants and functions in association with O-acetylserine (thiol) lyase (OAS-TL) in the cysteine synthase complex. Very little is known about the structure and catalysis of SATs except that they share a characteristic C-terminal hexapeptide-repeat domain with a number of enzymatically unrelated acyltransferases. Computational modeling of this domain was performed for the mitochondrial SAT isoform from Arabidopsis thaliana, based on crystal structures of bacterial acyltransferases. The results indicate a left-handed parallel beta-helix consisting of beta-sheets alternating with turns, resulting in a prism-like structure. This model was challenged by site-directed mutagenesis and tested for a suspected dual function of this domain in catalysis and hetero-oligomerization. The bifunctionality of the SAT C-terminus in transferase activity and interaction with OAS-TL is demonstrated and discussed with respect to the putative role of the cysteine synthase complex in regulation of cysteine biosynthesis.

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