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Biochemistry. 1991 Jan 8;30(1):305-12.

The tyrosine-225 to phenylalanine mutation of Escherichia coli aspartate aminotransferase results in an alkaline transition in the spectrophotometric and kinetic pKa values and reduced values of both kcat and Km.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Tyrosine-225 is hydrogen-bonded to the 3'-hydroxyl group of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate in the active site of aspartate aminotransferase. Replacement of this residue with phenylalanine (Y225F) results in a shift in the acidic limb of the pKa of the kcat/KAsp vs pH profile from 7.1 (wild-type) to 8.4 (mutant). The change in the kinetic pKa is mirrored by a similar shift in the spectrophotometrically determined pKa of the protonated internal aldimine. Thus, a major role of tyrosine-225 is to provide a hydrogen bond that stabilizes the reactive unprotonated form of the internal aldimine in the neutral pH range. The Km value for L-aspartate and the dissociation constant for alpha-methyl-DL-aspartate are respectively 20- and 37-fold lower in the mutant than in the wild-type enzyme, while the dissociation constant for maleate is much less perturbed. These results are interpreted in terms of competition between the Tyr225 hydroxyl group and the substrate or quasi-substrate amino group for the coenzyme. The value of kcat in Y225F is 450-fold less than the corresponding rate constant in wild type. The increased affinity of the mutant enzyme for substrates, combined with the lack of discrimination against deuterium in the C alpha position of L-aspartate in Y225F-catalyzed transamination [Kirsch, J. F., Toney, M. D., & Goldberg, J. M. (1990) in Protein and Pharmaceutical Engineering (Craik, C. S., Fletterick, R., Matthews, C. R., & Wells, J., Eds.) pp 105-118, Wiley-Liss, New York], suggests that the rate-determining step in the mutant is hydrolysis of the ketimine intermediate rather than C alpha-H abstraction which is partially rate-determining in wild type.

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