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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Dec 20;91(26):12428-32.

Expression of apple 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase in Escherichia coli: kinetic characterization of wild-type and active-site mutant forms.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The pyridoxal phosphate-dependent enzyme 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (ACC synthase; S-adenosyl-L-methionine methylthioadenosine-lyase, EC catalyzes the conversion of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) to ACC and 5'-methylthioadenosine, the committed step in ethylene biosynthesis in plants. Apple ACC synthase was overexpressed in Escherichia coli (3 mg/liter) and purified to near homogeneity. A continuous assay was developed by coupling the ACC synthase reaction to the deamination of 5'-methylthioadenosine by adenosine deaminase (adenosine aminohydrolase, EC from Aspergillus oryzae. The enzyme is dimeric, with kcat = 9s-1 per monomer and Km = 12 microM for AdoMet. The pyridoxal phosphate-binding site of ACC synthase appears to be highly homologous to that of aspartate aminotransferase, suggesting similar roles for corresponding residues. Site-directed mutagenesis of Lys-273, Arg-407, and Tyr-233 (corresponding to residues 258, 386, and 225 in aspartate aminotransferase) and kinetic analyses of the mutants confirms their importance in the ACC synthase mechanism. The Lys-273 to Ala mutant has no detectable activity, supporting the identification of this residue as the base catalyzing C alpha proton abstraction. Mutation of Arg-407 to Lys results in a precipitous drop in kcat/Km and an increase in Km for AdoMet of at least 20-fold, in accordance with its proposed role as principal ligand for the substrate alpha-carboxylate group. Replacement of Tyr-233 with Phe causes a 24-fold increase in the Km for AdoMet and no change in kcat, suggesting that this residue plays a role in orienting the pyridoxal phosphate cofactor in the active site.

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