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Biochemistry. 2003 Jan 14;42(1):106-13.

Characterization of the S272A,D site-directed mutations of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase: involvement of the pyridine ring in the alpha,beta-elimination reaction.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, 620 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73072, USA.


O-Acetylserine sulfhydrylase catalyzes the synthesis of l-cysteine from O-acetyl-l-serine (OAS) and inorganic bisulfide. An anti-E2 mechanism has been proposed for the OASS-catalyzed elimination of acetate from OAS (Tai, C.-H., and Cook, P. F. (2001) Acc. Chem. Res. 34, 49-59). Site-directed mutagenesis was used to change S272 to alanine, which would be expected to eliminate the hydrogen bond to N1 of PLP or to aspartate, which would be expected to enhance the hydrogen-bonding interaction. Both mutant enzymes catalyze the overall reaction and are in fact still good enzymes, consistent with the proposed anti-E2 mechanism. Data suggest that hydrogen bonding to the pyridine ring does not play a significant role in the alpha,beta-elimination reaction catalyzed by OASS-A. The V/K(OAS), which reflects the first half-reaction, is identical to the wild-type enzyme in the case of the S272D mutant enzyme and is decreased by only a factor of 3 in the case of the S272A mutant enzyme. In the case of the alanine mutation, and to a lesser extent the aspartate mutation, a decrease in the rate of the elimination is compensated by an increase in affinity for OAS, leading to the observed second-order rate constant, V/K. The decrease in the rate of the elimination is proposed to result from a change in the orientation of the bound cofactor, as might be expected since one of the ligands that determines the position of the bound PLP has been changed. Consistent with a change in the orientation of the cofactor are the results from a number of the spectral probes. The visible CD data for the internal Schiff base have a molar ellipticity 50% that of wild-type enzyme, and the alpha-aminoacrylate intermediate has a molar ellipticity 25% that of wild-type enzyme. The alpha-aminoacrylate intermediate can be formed from l-cysteine and l-serine with the S272A,D mutant enzymes, but not with the wild-type enzyme, and taken together with the increased K(d) for the serine external Schiff base is consistent with a change in cofactor orientation in the active site. The long wavelength fluorescence emission for the S272A mutant enzyme, attributed to Förster resonance energy transfer (McClure, G. D., Jr., and Cook, P. F. (1994) Biochemistry 33, 1647-1683) has an intensity near zero, as compared to significant fluorescence for the wild-type enzyme.

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