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Protein Eng. 1997 Dec;10(12):1445-52.

Effects of sulfhydryl regents on the activity of lambda Ser/Thr phosphoprotein phosphatase and inhibition of the enzyme by zinc ion.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, 48109-0606, USA.


Sulfhydryl reagents, such as dithiothreitol (DTT), affected the activity of Ser/Thr phosphoprotein phosphatases. Addition of DTT to the assay buffer increased the affinity of lambda Ser/Thr phosphoprotein phosphatase (lambda-PPase) for its Mn2+ cofactor. On the other hand, the enzyme was found to be inactivated simply by dilution in Tris buffer. The inactivation could be completely prevented by the presence of DTT or Mn2+ in the buffer. Further studies showed that oxidation or reduction of cysteine residues in lambda-PPase may not be the cause of the change in the enzyme activity. Without exception, mutation of all cysteine residues in lambda-PPase to serine did not convert the enzyme into a thiol-insensitive mutant. By careful examination of the effects of different sulfhydryl reagents, metal ion cofactors and substrates on lambda-PPase, it was found that the role of sulfhydryl reagents was the chelation of small amounts of inhibitory metal ions, which were present in plastic laboratory ware, such as disposable cuvets and tubes, with prevention of the enzyme from inactivation. One of the main contaminants found in plastic cuvets was Zn2+, which is a potent inhibitor of lambda-PPase. The inhibition of lambda-PPase by Zn2+ was characterized. Pre-treatment of the enzyme (1-4 nM) with 1 microM of ZnCl2 almost completely inhibited the enzymatic activity in response to 2 mM Mn2+. However, no significant inhibition was found when the enzyme was added to the assay mixture containing 1 microM Zn2+ and 2 mM Mn2+ . This confirms the sensitivity of the holoenzyme to inhibitory metal ions in vitro. The kinetic analysis indicated that the inhibitory metal ion might compete with Mn2+ to bind to the active site of lambda-PPase. This was further supported by the mutation of metal cofactor binding amino acid residues of the enzyme. Mutants which have less affinity for Mn2+ are also less sensitive to Zn2+. Our results suggest that inhibitory metal ions may induce a different structural conformation for lambda-PPase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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