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Biochemistry. 2011 Nov 1;50(43):9388-98. doi: 10.1021/bi201161k. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

The enzymatic activities of the Escherichia coli basic aliphatic amino acid decarboxylases exhibit a pH zone of inhibition.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


The stringent response regulator ppGpp has recently been shown by our group to inhibit the Escherichia coli inducible lysine decarboxylase, LdcI. As a follow-up to this observation, we examined the mechanisms that regulate the activities of the other four E. coli enzymes paralogous to LdcI: the constitutive lysine decarboxylase LdcC, the inducible arginine decarboxylase AdiA, the inducible ornithine decarboxylase SpeF, and the constitutive ornithine decarboxylase SpeC. LdcC and SpeC are involved in cellular polyamine biosynthesis, while LdcI, AdiA, and SpeF are involved in the acid stress response. Multiple mechanisms of regulation were found for these enzymes. In addition to LdcI, LdcC and SpeC were found to be inhibited by ppGpp; AdiA activity was found to be regulated by changes in oligomerization, while SpeF and SpeC activities were regulated by GTP. These findings indicate the presence of multiple mechanisms regulating the activity of this important family of decarboxylases. When the enzyme inhibition profiles are analyzed in parallel, a "zone of inhibition" between pH 6 and pH 8 is observed. Hence, the data suggest that E. coli utilizes multiple mechanisms to ensure that these decarboxylases remain inactive around neutral pH possibly to reduce the consumption of amino acids at this pH.

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