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Biochemistry. 2004 Mar 23;43(11):3255-63.

Conserved cysteine 126 in triosephosphate isomerase is required not for enzymatic activity but for proper folding and stability.

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Area de Biofisicoquímica, Departamento de Química, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Apartado Postal 55-534, Iztapalapa D.F. 09340, Mexico.


In triosephosphate isomerase, Cys126 is a conserved residue located close to the catalytic glutamate, Glu165. Although it has been mentioned that Cys126 and other nearby residues are required to maintain the active site geometry optimal for catalysis, no evidence supporting this idea has been reported to date. In this work, we studied the catalytic and stability properties of mutants C126A and C126S of Saccharomyces cerevisiae TIM (wtTIM). None of these amino acid replacements induced significant changes in the folding of wtTIM, as indicated by spectroscopic studies. C126S and C126A have K(M) and k(cat) values that are concomitantly reduced by only 4-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively, compared to those of wtTIM; in either case, however, the catalytic efficiency (k(cat)/K(M)) of the enzyme is barely affected. The affinity of mutated TIMs for the competitive inhibitor 2-phosphoglycolate augmented also slightly. In contrast, greater susceptibility to thermal denaturation resulted from mutation of Cys126, especially when it was changed to Ser. By using values of the rate constants for unfolding and refolding, we estimated that, at 25 degrees C, C126A and C126S are less stable than wtTIM by about 5.0 and 9.0 kcal mol(-)(1), respectively. Moreover, either of these mutations slows down the folding rate by a factor of 10 and decreases the recovery of the active enzyme after thermal unfolding. Thus, Cys126 is required for proper stability and efficient folding of TIM rather than for enzymatic catalysis.

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