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Biochemistry. 2006 Sep 12;45(36):11030-7.

Insights into the catalytic mechanisms of phenylalanine and tryptophan hydroxylase from kinetic isotope effects on aromatic hydroxylation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2128, USA.


Phenylalanine hydroxylase (PheH) and tryptophan hydroxylase (TrpH) catalyze the aromatic hydroxylation of phenylalanine and tryptophan, forming tyrosine and 5-hydroxytryptophan, respectively. The reactions of PheH and TrpH have been investigated with [4-(2)H]-, [3,5-(2)H(2)]-, and (2)H(5)-phenylalanine as substrates. All (D)k(cat) values are normal with Delta117PheH, the catalytic core of rat phenylalanine hydroxylase, ranging from 1.12-1.41. In contrast, for Delta117PheH V379D, a mutant protein in which the stoichiometry between tetrahydropterin oxidation and amino acid hydroxylation is altered, the (D)k(cat) value with [4-(2)H]-phenylalanine is 0.92 but is normal with [3,5-(2)H(2)]-phenylalanine. The ratio of tetrahydropterin oxidation to amino acid hydroxylation for Delta117PheH V379D shows a similar inverse isotope effect with [4-(2)H]-phenylalanine. Intramolecular isotope effects, determined from the deuterium contents of the tyrosine formed from [4-(2)H]-and [3,5(2)H(2)]-phenylalanine, are identical for Delta117PheH and Delta117PheH V379D, suggesting that steps subsequent to oxygen addition are unaffected in the mutant protein. The inverse effects are consistent with the reaction of an activated ferryl-oxo species at the para position of the side chain of the amino acid to form a cationic intermediate. The normal effects on the (D)k(cat) value for the wild-type enzyme are attributed to an isotope effect of 5.1 on the tautomerization of a dienone intermediate to tyrosine with a rate constant 6- to7-fold that for hydroxylation. In addition, there is a slight ( approximately 34%) preference for the loss of the hydrogen originally at C4 of phenylalanine. With (2)H(5)-indole-tryptophan as a substrate for Delta117PheH, the (D)k(cat) value is 0.89, consistent with hydroxylation being rate-limiting in this case. When deuterated phenylalanines are used as substrates for TrpH, the (D)k(cat) values are within error of those for Delta117PheH V379D. Overall, these results are consistent with the aromatic amino acid hydroxylases all sharing the same chemical mechanism, but with the isotope effect for hydroxylation by PheH being masked by tautomerization of an enedione intermediate to tyrosine.

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