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J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 27;284(9):5977-85. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M808702200. Epub 2008 Dec 23.

Role of Cys-1327 and Cys-1337 in redox sensitivity and allosteric monitoring in human carbamoyl phosphate synthetase.

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1
Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

Human carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (hCPS) has evolved critical features that allow it to remove excess and potentially neurotoxic ammonia via the urea cycle, including use of only free ammonia as a nitrogen donor, a K(m) for ammonia 100-fold lower than for CPSs that also use glutamine as a nitrogen donor, and required allosteric activation by N-acetylglutamate (AGA), a sensor of excess amino acids. The recent availability of a Schizosaccharomyces pombe expression system for hCPS allowed us to utilize protein engineering approaches to elucidate the distinctive hCPS properties. Although the site of AGA interaction is not defined, it is known that the binding of AGA to CPS leads to a conformational change in which a pair of cysteine side chains become proximate and can then be selectively induced to undergo disulfide bonding. We analyzed the response of hCPS cysteine mutants to thiol-specific reagents and identified Cys-1327 and Cys-1337 as the AGA-responsive proximate cysteines. Possibly two of the features unique to urea-specific CPSs, relative to other CPSs (the conserved Cys-1327/Cys-1337 pair and the occurrence at very high concentrations in the liver mitochondrial matrix) co-evolved to provide buffering against reactive oxygen species. Reciprocal mutation analysis of Escherichia coli CPS (eCPS), creating P909C and G919C and establishing the ability of these engineered cysteine residues to share a disulfide bond, indicated an eCPS conformational change at least partly similar to the hCPS conformational change induced by AGA. These findings strongly suggested an alternative eCPS conformation relative to the single crystal conformation thus far identified.

PMID:
19106093
PMCID:
PMC2645840
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.M808702200
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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