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J Biol Chem. 1995 Aug 25;270(34):19694-701.

Fasciculin 2 binds to the peripheral site on acetylcholinesterase and inhibits substrate hydrolysis by slowing a step involving proton transfer during enzyme acylation.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44120-4965, USA.


The acetylcholinesterase active site consists of a gorge 20 A deep that is lined with aromatic residues. A serine residue near the base of the gorge defines an acylation site where an acyl enzyme intermediate is formed during the hydrolysis of ester substrates. Residues near the entrance to the gorge comprise a peripheral site where inhibitors like propidium and fasciculin 2, a snake neurotoxin, bind and interfere with catalysis. We report here the association and dissociation rate constants for fasciculin 2 interaction with the human enzyme in the presence of ligands that bind to either the peripheral site or the acylation site. These kinetic data confirmed that propidium is strictly competitive with fasciculin 2 for binding to the peripheral site. In contrast, edrophonium, N-methylacridinium, and butyrylthiocholine bound to the acylation site and formed ternary complexes with the fasciculin 2-bound enzyme in which their affinities were reduced by about an order of magnitude from their affinities in the free enzyme. Steady state analysis of the inhibition of substrate hydrolysis by fasciculin 2 revealed that the ternary complexes had residual activity. For acetylthiocholine and phenyl acetate, saturating amounts of the toxin reduced the first-order rate constant kcat to 0.5-2% and the second-order rate constant kcat/Kapp to 0.2-2% of their values with the uninhibited enzyme. To address whether fasciculin 2 inhibition primarily involved steric blockade of the active site or conformational interaction with the acylation site, deuterium oxide isotope effects on these kinetic parameters were measured. The isotope effect on kcat/Kapp increased for both substrates when fasciculin 2 was bound to the enzyme, indicating that fasciculin 2 acts predominantly by altering the conformation of the active site in the ternary complex so that steps involving proton transfer during enzyme acylation are slowed.

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