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J Biol Chem. 1987 Jul 25;262(21):10120-6.

Structural properties of cyanase. Denaturation, renaturation, and role of sulfhydryls and oligomeric structure in catalytic activity.


Cyanase is an inducible enzyme in Escherichia coli that catalyzes bicarbonate-dependent decomposition of cyanate to give ammonia and bicarbonate. The enzyme is composed of 8-10 identical subunits (Mr = 17,008). The objective of this study was to clarify some of the structural properties of cyanase for the purpose of understanding the relationship between oligomeric structure and catalytic activity. Circular dichroism studies showed that cyanase has a significant amount of alpha-helix and beta-sheet structure. The one sulfhydryl group per subunit does not react with 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) unless cyanase is denatured. Denaturation is apparently complete in 10 M urea or 6 M guanidine hydrochloride, but is significantly reduced in 10 M urea by the presence of azide (analog of cyanate) and is incomplete in 8 M urea. Denatured cyanase could be renatured and reactivated (greater than 85%) by removal of denaturants. Reactivation was greatly facilitated by the presence of certain anions, particularly bicarbonate, and by high ionic strength and protein concentration. The catalytic activity of renatured cyanase was associated only with oligomer. Cyanase that had been denatured in the presence of DTNB to give a cyanase-DTNB derivative could also be renatured at 26 degrees C to give active cyanase-DTNB oligomer. The active oligomeric form of the cyanase-DTNB derivative could be converted reversibly to inactive dimer by lowering the temperature to 4 degrees C or by reduction of the ionic strength and removal of monoanions. These results provide evidence that free sulfhydryl groups are not required for catalytic activity and that catalytic activity may be dependent upon oligomeric structure.

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