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Biochemistry. 2013 Aug 27;52(34):5865-75. doi: 10.1021/bi400761b. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

3-Phosphoglycerate is an allosteric activator of pyruvate kinase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrobaculum aerophilum.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, United States.


Pyruvate kinase (PK) is a highly regulated enzyme that catalyzes the final step of glycolysis. PK from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrobaculum aerophilum (PaPK) is distinguished from most PK enzymes of eukarya and bacteria by not responding to any known allosteric effectors and apparently exhibiting only cooperative regulation. We determined the crystal structure of PaPK to 2.2 Å resolution and, in a manner consistent with the lack of a response to conventional effectors, observed that the canonical allosteric site is occluded by a tyrosine. Unexpectedly, though, a bound sulfate was observed at a position equivalent to the 6'-phosphate of sugar effectors, suggesting an allosteric site, but for an unknown effector and sharing only the phosphate position. A search of three-carbon intermediates of glycolysis revealed 3-phosphoglycerate (3PG) as a potent allosteric activator of PaPK. The response was abolished by mutation of residues that contact the sulfate and of an arginine proposed to interact with the 3PG carboxylate group. Regulation of PK by 3PG is consistent with the ancestral glycolysis of hyperthermophilic archaea in which this intermediate is produced by an irreversible enzyme, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate ferredoxin oxidoreductase. Coordinated regulation within the lower half of glycolysis contrasts sharply with conventional glycolysis in which 3PG is produced reversibly and PK is regulated by fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, the product of phosphofructokinase, an irreversible enzyme in the upper half of the pathway. Regulation of PaPK by a carboxylate molecule rather than a sugar phosphate may reflect a step in the evolution of glycolysis that predates the dominance of sugars in metabolism.

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