A single amino acid substitution in the active site of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase prevents the allosteric transition.
ABSTRACT: Modeling of the tetrahedral intermediate within the active site of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase revealed a specific interaction with the side-chain of Gln137, an interaction not previously observed in the structure of the X-ray enzyme in the presence of N-phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate (PALA). Previous site-specific mutagenesis experiments showed that when Gln137 was replaced by alanine, the resulting mutant enzyme (Q137A) exhibited approximately 50-fold less activity than the wild-type enzyme, exhibited no homotropic cooperativity, and the binding of both carbamoyl phosphate and aspartate were extremely compromised. To elucidate the structural alterations in the mutant enzyme that might lead to such pronounced changes in kinetic and binding properties, the Q137A enzyme was studied by time-resolved, small-angle X-ray scattering and its structure was determined in the presence of PALA to 2.7 angstroms resolution. Time-resolved, small-angle X-ray scattering established that the natural substrates, carbamoyl phosphate and L-aspartate, do not induce in the Q137A enzyme the same conformational changes as observed for the wild-type enzyme, although the scattering pattern of the Q137A and wild-type enzymes in the presence of PALA were identical. The overall structure of the Q137A enzyme is similar to that of the R-state structure of wild-type enzyme with PALA bound. However, there are differences in the manner by which the Q137A enzyme coordinates PALA, especially in the side-chain positions of Arg105 and His134. The replacement of Gln137 by Ala also has a dramatic effect on the electrostatics of the active site. These data taken together suggest that the side-chain of Gln137 in the wild-type enzyme is required for the binding of carbamoyl phosphate in the proper orientation so as to induce conformational changes required for the creation of the high-affinity aspartate-binding site. The inability of carbamoyl phosphate to create the high-affinity binding site in the Q137A enzyme results in an enzyme locked in the low-activity low-affinity T state. These results emphasize the absolute requirement of the binding of carbamoyl phosphate for the creation of the high-affinity aspartate-binding site and for inducing the homotropic cooperativity in aspartate transcarbamoylase.
Project description:X-ray structures of aspartate transcarbamoylase in the absence and presence of the first substrate carbamoyl phosphate are reported. These two structures in conjunction with in silico docking experiments provide snapshots of critical events in the function of the enzyme. The ordered substrate binding, observed experimentally, can now be structurally explained by a conformational change induced upon the binding of carbamoyl phosphate. This induced fit dramatically alters the electrostatics of the active site, creating a binding pocket for aspartate. Upon aspartate binding, a further change in electrostatics causes a second induced fit, the domain closure. This domain closure acts as a clamp that both facilitates catalysis by approximation and also initiates the global conformational change that manifests homotropic cooperativity.
Project description:The X-ray structure of the Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase with the bisubstrate analog phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate (PALA) bound shows that PALA interacts with Lys84 from an adjacent catalytic chain. To probe the function of Lys84, site-specific mutagenesis was used to convert Lys84 to alanine, threonine, and asparagine. The K84N and K84T enzymes exhibited 0.08 and 0.29% of the activity of the wild-type enzyme, respectively. However, the K84A enzyme retained 12% of the activity of the wild-type enzyme. For each of these enzymes, the affinity for aspartate was reduced 5- to 10-fold, and the affinity for carbamoyl phosphate was reduced 10- to 30-fold. The enzymes K84N and K84T exhibited no appreciable cooperativity, whereas the K84A enzyme exhibited a Hill coefficient of 1.8. The residual cooperativity and enhanced activity of the K84A enzyme suggest that in this enzyme another mechanism functions to restore catalytic activity. Modeling studies as well as molecular dynamics simulations suggest that in the case of only the K84A enzyme, the lysine residue at position 83 can reorient into the active site and complement for the loss of Lys84. This hypothesis was tested by the creation and analysis of the K83A enzyme and a double mutant enzyme (DM) that has both Lys83 and Lys84 replaced by alanine. The DM enzyme has no cooperativity and exhibited 0.18% of wild-type activity, while the K83A enzyme exhibited 61% of wild-type activity. These data suggest that Lys84 is not only catalytically important, but is also essential for binding both substrates and creation of the high-activity, high-affinity active site. Since low-angle X-ray scattering demonstrated that the mutant enzymes can be converted to the R-structural state, the loss of cooperativity must be related to the inability of these mutant enzymes to form the high-activity, high-affinity active site characteristic of the R-functional state of the enzyme.
Project description:Enzymes catalyze a particular reaction in cells, but only a few control the rate of this reaction and the metabolic pathway that follows. One specific mechanism for such enzymatic control of a metabolic pathway involves molecular feedback, whereby a metabolite further down the pathway acts at a unique site on the control enzyme to alter its activity allosterically. This regulation may be positive or negative (or both), depending upon the particular system. Another method of enzymatic control involves the cooperative binding of the substrate, which allows a large change in enzyme activity to emanate from only a small change in substrate concentration. Allosteric regulation and homotropic cooperativity are often known to involve significant conformational changes in the structure of the protein. Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) is the textbook example of an enzyme that regulates a metabolic pathway, namely, pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthesis, by feedback control and by the cooperative binding of the substrate, L-aspartate. The catalytic and regulatory mechanisms of this enzyme have been extensively studied. A series of X-ray crystal structures of the enzyme in the presence and absence of substrates, products, and analogues have provided details, at the molecular level, of the conformational changes that the enzyme undergoes as it shifts between its low-activity, low-affinity form (T state) to its high-activity, high-affinity form (R state). These structural data provide insights into not only how this enzyme catalyzes the reaction between l-aspartate and carbamoyl phosphate to form N-carbamoyl-L-aspartate and inorganic phosphate, but also how the allosteric effectors modulate this activity. In this Account, we summarize studies on the structure of the enzyme and describe how these structural data provide insights into the catalytic and regulatory mechanisms of the enzyme. The ATCase-catalyzed reaction is regulated by nucleotide binding some 60 Å from the active site, inducing structural alterations that modulate catalytic activity. The delineation of the structure and function in this particular model system will help in understanding the molecular basis of cooperativity and allosteric regulation in other systems as well.
Project description:The allosteric enzyme aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) exists in two conformational states. The enzyme, in the absence of substrates is primarily in the low-activity T state, is converted to the high-activity R state upon substrate binding, and remains in the R state until substrates are exhausted. These conformational changes have made it difficult to obtain structural data on R-state active-site complexes. Here we report the R-state structure of ATCase with the substrate Asp and the substrate analog phosphonoactamide (PAM) bound. This R-state structure represents the stage in the catalytic mechanism immediately before the formation of the covalent bond between the nitrogen of the amino group of Asp and the carbonyl carbon of carbamoyl phosphate. The binding mode of the PAM is similar to the binding mode of the phosphonate moiety of N-(phosphonoacetyl)-l-aspartate (PALA), the carboxylates of Asp interact with the same residues that interact with the carboxylates of PALA, although the position and orientations are shifted. The amino group of Asp is 2.9 A away from the carbonyl oxygen of PAM, positioned correctly for the nucleophilic attack. Arg105 and Leu267 in the catalytic chain interact with PAM and Asp and help to position the substrates correctly for catalysis. This structure fills a key gap in the structural determination of each of the steps in the catalytic cycle. By combining these data with previously determined structures we can now visualize the allosteric transition through detailed atomic motions that underlie the molecular mechanism.
Project description:1. Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase activity of Phaseolus aureus extracts was assayed by coupling it to the catalytic subunit of Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase and determining the [(14)C]carbamoylaspartate so formed. The stability of the activity was improved by the addition of ornithine and dimethyl sulphoxide to the extraction medium. 2. The synthetase activity was found to utilize either glutamine or ammonia as amino donor, the Michaelis constants being 0.17+/-0.03mm and 6.1+/-1.0mm respectively. N-Acetylglutamate did not significantly alter the rate with either substrate, and azaserine inhibited the reaction with both amino donors to the same extent. 3. Ornithine was shown to stimulate the activity, and to counteract inhibition by UMP. The purine nucleotides IMP and GMP enhanced carbamoyl phosphate formation, whereas AMP had an inhibitory effect. 4. The Michaelis constant for carbamoyl phosphate was determined in concentrated extracts for both aspartate transcarbamoylase and ornithine transcarbamoylase activities, and was 0.13+/-0.03mm and 1.58+/-0.16mm respectively. The ratio of the activities of these two enzymes, determined at near-saturating substrate concentrations, was 1:3 (aspartate transcarbamoylase/ornithine transcarbamoylase). 5. It is concluded that in this plant tissue there is one enzyme, carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, supplying carbamoyl phosphate to both the pyrimidine and arginine pathways, that the pyrimidine pathway claims most of the available carbamoyl phosphate (depending on the concentration of the nucleotide effectors) when this intermediate is present at low concentrations; and that when the carbamoyl phosphate concentration is increased, possibly by ornithine stimulation, a larger proportion can be taken up by the arginine pathway.
Project description:The crystal structure of the Glu-105-->Gly mutant of catabolic ornithine transcarbamoylase (OTCase; carbamoyl phosphate + L-ornithine = orthophosphate + L-citrulline, EC 220.127.116.11) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been determined at 3.0-A resolution. This mutant is blocked in the active R (relaxed) state. The structure was solved by the molecular replacement method, starting from a crude molecular model built from a trimer of the catalytic subunit of another transcarbamoylase, the extensively studied aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) from Escherichia coli. This model was used to generate initial low-resolution phases at 8-A resolution, which were extended to 3-A by noncrystallographic symmetry averaging. Four phase extensions were required to obtain an electron density map of very high quality from which the final model was built. The structure, including 4020 residues, has been refined to 3-A, and the current crystallographic R value is 0.216. No solvent molecules have been added to the model. The catabolic OTCase is a dodecamer composed of four trimers organized in a tetrahedral manner. Each monomer is composed of two domains. The carbamoyl phosphate binding domain shows a strong structural homology with the equivalent ATCase part. In contrast, the other domain, mainly implicated in the binding of the second substrate (ornithine for OTCase and aspartate for ATCase) is poorly conserved. The quaternary structures of these two allosteric transcarbamoylases are quite divergent: the E. coli ATCase has pseudo-32 point-group symmetry, with six catalytic and six regulatory chains; the catabolic OTCase has 23 point-group symmetry and only catalytic chains. However, both enzymes display homotropic and heterotropic cooperativity.
Project description:The pathway of product release from the R state of aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase; EC 18.104.22.168, aspartate carbamoyltransferase) has been determined here by solving the crystal structure of Escherichia coli ATCase locked in the R quaternary structure by specific introduction of disulfide bonds. ATCase displays ordered substrate binding and product release, remaining in the R state until substrates are exhausted. The structure reported here represents ATCase in the R state bound to the final product molecule, phosphate. This structure has been difficult to obtain previously because the enzyme relaxes back to the T state after the substrates are exhausted. Hence, cocrystallizing the wild-type enzyme with phosphate results in a T-state structure. In this structure of the enzyme trapped in the R state with specific disulfide bonds, we observe two phosphate molecules per active site. The position of the first phosphate corresponds to the position of the phosphate of carbamoyl phosphate (CP) and the position of the phosphonate of N-phosphonacetyl-l-aspartate. However, the second, more weakly bound phosphate is bound in a positively charged pocket that is more accessible to the surface than the other phosphate. The second phosphate appears to be on the path that phosphate would have to take to exit the active site. Our results suggest that phosphate dissociation and CP binding can occur simultaneously and that the dissociation of phosphate may actually promote the binding of CP for more efficient catalysis.
Project description:Wheat-germ aspartate transcarbamoylase (EC 22.214.171.124) was inactivated by phenylglyoxal in a first-order process, provided that the inactivation time did not exceed 10 min. Apparent first-order rate constants were linearly dependent on phenylglyoxal concentration, indicating a bimolecular reaction between a single active-centre residue and phenylglyoxal, with second-order constant of 0.023 mM-1 X min-1. A plot of apparent first-order rate constant versus pH showed a steep rise above pH 9.5, indicating that the essential residue has a pKa value of 10.5 or higher, consistent with an arginine residue. Saturating concentrations of the following ligands provided a degree of protection (percentages in parentheses) against 1 mM-phenylglyoxal: N-phosphonoacetyl-L-aspartate, a bisubstrate analogue (94%); carbamoyl phosphate (75%); UMP, an end-product inhibitor (53%). Succinate (an analogue of L-aspartate) alone gave no protection, but in combination with carbamoyl phosphate raised the protection to 92%, in agreement with the known binding order of the two substrates. These results indicate that the essential arginine residue is close to the carbamoyl phosphate site, probably oriented towards the aspartate site. Attempts to desensitize the UMP-binding site by reaction with phenylglyoxal, while protecting the active centre, were unsuccessful. The essential active-centre arginine residue is compared with a similar residue in the Escherichia coli enzyme.
Project description:Ligand-mediated effects on the inactivation of pure wheat-germ aspartate transcarbamoylase by trypsin were examined. Inactivation was apparently first-order in all cases, and the effects of ligand concentration on the pseudo-first-order rate constant, k, were studied. Increase in k (labilization) was effected by carbamoyl phosphate, phosphate and the putative transition-state analogue, N-phosphonoacetyl-L-aspartate. Decrease in k (protection) was effected by the end-product inhibitor, UMP, and by the ligand pairs aspartate/phosphate and succinate/carbamoyl phosphate, but not by aspartate or succinate alone up to 10 mM. Except for protection by the latter ligand pairs, all other ligand-mediated effects were also observed on inactivation of the enzyme by Pronase and chymotrypsin. Ligand-mediated effects on the fragmentation of the polypeptide chain by trypsin were examined electrophoretically. Slight labilization of the chain was observed in the presence of carbamoyl phosphate, phosphate and N-phosphonoacetyl-L-aspartate. An extensive protection by UMP was observed, which apparently included all trypsin-sensitive peptide bonds. No significant effect by the ligand pair succinate/carbamoyl phosphate was noted. It is concluded from these observations that UMP triggers an extensive, probably co-operative, transition to a proteinase-resistant conformation, and that carbamoyl phosphate similarly triggers a transition to an alternative, proteinase-sensitive, conformation. These antagonistic conformational changes may account for the regulatory kinetic effects reported elsewhere [Yon (1984) Biochem. J. 221, 281-287]. The protective effect by the ligand pairs aspartate/phosphate and succinate/carbamoyl phosphate, which operates only against trypsin, is concluded to be due to local shielding of essential lysine or arginine residues in the aspartate-binding pocket of the active site, to which aspartate (or its analogue, succinate) can only bind as part of a ternary complex.
Project description:The kinetic effects of the end-product inhibitor UMP on aspartate transcarbamoylase (EC 126.96.36.199) purified to homogeneity from wheat germ were studied. In agreement with an earlier study of the relatively crude enzyme [Yon (1972) Biochem. J. 128, 311-320], the half-saturating concentrations of UMP and of the first substrate, carbamoyl phosphate (but not of the second, L-aspartate), were found to be strongly interdependent. However, the kinetic behaviour of the pure enzyme differed from that of the crude enzyme in several important respects, namely: (a) the apparent affinity for UMP was lower with the pure enzyme; (b) sigmoidicity was absent from plots of initial rate versus carbamoyl phosphate concentration, each at a fixed UMP concentration; (c) sigmoidicity was greatly exaggerated in plots of initial rate versus UMP concentration, each at a fixed carbamoyl phosphate concentration, owing to the occurrence of a slight but definite maximum in each plot at low UMP concentration; (d) there was a relative increase in this maximum in the presence of N-phosphonacetyl-L-aspartate, an inhibitor competitive with carbamoyl phosphate. It is shown that a modified two-conformation concerted-transition model can be used to account for most of these features of the pure enzyme. The model treats carbamoyl phosphate and UMP as antagonistic allosteric ligands binding to alternative conformational states [Monod, Wyman & Changeux (1965) J. Mol. Biol. 12, 88-118], carbamoyl phosphate binding non-exclusively (dissociation constants 20 microM and 85 microM respectively) and UMP binding exclusively (dissociation constant 2.5 microM). The model postulates further that the conformation with lower affinity for carbamoyl phosphate has the higher value of kcat., and that it binds UMP in competition with carbamoyl phosphate. Parameters giving the best fit of experimental data to this model were found by a non-linear least-squares search procedure.