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Biochemistry. 1995 Mar 7;34(9):2883-92.

Biosynthesis of riboflavin. Studies on the reaction mechanism of 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine synthase.

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Department of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technical University of Munich, Garching, Federal Republic of Germany.


The lumazine synthase/riboflavin synthase complex of Bacillus subtilis consists of an icosahedral capsid of 60 beta subunits surrounding a core of 3 alpha subunits. The beta subunits catalyze the condensation of 5-amino-6-ribitylamino-2,4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione with (3S)-3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone under formation of 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine. This intermediate is converted to riboflavin by the alpha subunits via an unusual dismutation yielding 5-amino-6-ribitylamino-2,4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione as second product. (3R)- and (3S)-3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate were synthesized. Both enantiomers can serve as substrate for 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine synthase. The reaction rate of the natural S-enantiomer is about 6-fold higher than that of the R-enantiomer. The Km value for (3S)-3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate is 130 microM, and the Km value for the pyrimidine substrate is 5 microM. Diacetyl and 3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 3-phosphate do not serve as substrates for lumazine synthase. The enzyme-catalyzed condensation of the carbohydrate with the pyrimidine is strictly regiospecific. The enzyme does not catalyze the exchange of protons between (3S)-3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate and solvent water in the absence of the pyrimidine cosubstrate. A reaction mechanism starting with the formation of a Schiff base followed by elimination of phosphate and cyclization is proposed. The lumazine synthase activities of the native enzyme complex and of reconstituted, hollow beta 60 capsids are virtually identical (about 12,000 nmol mg-1 h-1).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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