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Biochemistry. 2001 Aug 21;40(33):9836-45.

beta-Ketoacyl-[acyl carrier protein] synthase I of Escherichia coli: aspects of the condensation mechanism revealed by analyses of mutations in the active site pocket.

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Department of Genetics, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Copenhagen, Ă˜ster Farimagsgade 2A, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark.


beta-Ketoacyl-[acyl carrier protein (ACP)] synthase forms new carbon-carbon bonds in three steps: transfer of an acyl primer from ACP to the enzyme, decarboxylation of the elongating substrate and its condensation with the acyl primer substrate. Six residues of Escherichia coli beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase I (KAS I) implicated in these reactions were subjected to site-directed mutagenesis. Analyses of the abilities of C163A, C163S, H298A, D306A, E309A, K328A, and H333A to carry out the three reactions lead to the following conclusions. The active site Cys-163 is not required for decarboxylation, whereas His-298 and His-333 are indispensable. Neither of the histidines is essential for increasing the nucleophilicity of Cys-163 to enable transfer of the acyl primer substrate. Maintenance of the structural integrity of the active site by Asp-306 and Glu-309 is required for decarboxylation but not for transfer. One function of Lys-328 occurs very early in catalysis, potentially before transfer. These results in conjunction with structural analyses of substrate complexes have led to a model for KAS I catalysis [Olsen, J. G., Kadziola, A., von Wettstein-Knowles, P., Siggaard-Andersen, M., and Larsen, S. (2001) Structure 9, 233-243]. Another facet of catalysis revealed by the mutant analyses is that the acyl primer transfer activity of beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase I is inhibited by free ACP at physiological concentrations. Differences in the inhibitory response by individual mutant proteins indicate that interaction of free ACP with Cys-163, Asp-306, Glu-309, Lys-328, and His-333 might form a sensitive regulatory mechanism for the transfer of acyl primers.

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