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Hum Mutat. 2017 Sep;38(9):1132-1143. doi: 10.1002/humu.23231. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Whole-protein alanine-scanning mutagenesis of allostery: A large percentage of a protein can contribute to mechanism.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas.


Many studies of allosteric mechanisms use limited numbers of mutations to test whether residues play "key" roles. However, if a large percentage of the protein contributes to allosteric function, mutating any residue would have a high probability of modifying allostery. Thus, a predicted mechanism that is dependent on only a few residues could erroneously appear to be supported. We used whole-protein alanine-scanning mutagenesis to determine which amino acid sidechains of human liver pyruvate kinase (hL-PYK; approved symbol PKLR) contribute to regulation by fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (Fru-1,6-BP; activator) and alanine (inhibitor). Each nonalanine/nonglycine residue of hL-PYK was mutated to alanine to generate 431 mutant proteins. Allosteric functions in active proteins were quantified by following substrate affinity over a concentration range of effectors. Results show that different residues contribute to the two allosteric functions. Only a small fraction of mutated residues perturbed inhibition by alanine. In contrast, a large percentage of mutated residues influenced activation by Fru-1,6-BP; inhibition by alanine is not simply the reverse of activation by Fru-1,6-BP. Moreover, the results show that Fru-1,6-BP activation would be extremely difficult to elucidate using a limited number of mutations. Additionally, this large mutational data set will be useful to train and test computational algorithms aiming to predict allosteric mechanisms.


PKLR; alanine-scanning mutagenesis; allosteric mechanism; allosteric regulation; allostery; liver pyruvate kinase

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