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Protein Sci. 1994 Nov;3(11):1998-2004.

Glu-50 in the catalytic chain of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase plays a crucial role in the stability of the R quaternary structure.

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LURE, CNRS-CEA-MESR, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.


Glu-50 of aspartate transcarbamoylase from Escherichia coli forms a set of interdomain bridging interactions between the 2 domains of the catalytic chain; these interactions are critical for stabilization of the high-activity high-affinity form of the enzyme. The mutant enzyme with an alanine substituted for Glu-50 (Glu-50-->Ala) exhibits significantly reduced activity, little cooperativity, and altered regulatory behavior (Newton CJ, Kantrowitz ER, 1990, Biochemistry 29:1444-1451). A study of the structural consequences of replacing Glu-50 by alanine using solution X-ray scattering is reported here. Correspondingly, in the absence of substrates, the mutant enzyme is in the same, so-called T quaternary conformation as is the wild-type enzyme. In the presence of a saturating concentration of the bisubstrate analog N-phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate (PALA), the mutant enzyme is in the same, so-called R quaternary conformation as the wild-type enzyme. However, the Glu-50-->Ala enzyme differs from the wild-type enzyme, in that its scattering pattern is hardly altered by a combination of carbamoyl phosphate and succinate. Addition of ATP under these conditions does result in a slight shift toward the R structure. Steady-state kinetic studies indicate that, in contrast to the wild-type enzyme, the Glu-50-->Ala enzyme is activated by PALA at saturating concentrations of carbamoyl phosphate and aspartate, and that PALA increases the affinity of the mutant enzyme for aspartate. These data suggest that the enzyme does not undergo the normal T to R transition upon binding of the physiological substrates and verifies the previous suggestion that the interdomain bridging interactions involving Glu-50 are critical for the creation of the high-activity, high-affinity R state of the enzyme.

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