The essential tyrosine-containing loop conformation and the role of the C-terminal multi-helix region in eukaryotic phenylalanine ammonia-lyases

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Besides the post-translationally cyclizing catalytic Ala-Ser-Gly triad, Tyr110 and its equivalents are of the most conserved residues in the active site of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL, EC, histidine ammonia-lyase (HAL, EC and other related enzymes. The Tyr110Phe mutation results in the most pronounced inactivation of PAL indicating the importance of this residue. The recently published X-ray structures of PAL revealed that the Tyr110-loop was either missing (for Rhodospridium toruloides) or far from the active site (for Petroselinum crispum). In bacterial HAL (∼500 amino acids) and plant and fungal PALs (∼710 amino acids), a core PAL/HAL domain (∼480 amino acids) with ≥ 30% sequence identity along the different species is common. In plant and fungal PAL a ∼100-residue long C-terminal multi-helix domain is present. The ancestor bacterial HAL is thermostable and, in all of its known X-ray structures, a Tyr83-loop-in arrangement has been found. Based on the HAL structures, a Tyr110-loop-in conformation of the P. crispum PAL structure was constructed by partial homology modeling, and the static and dynamic behavior of the loop-in/loop-out structures were compared. To study the role of the C-terminal multi-helix domain, Tyr-loop-in/loop-out model structures of two bacterial PALs (Streptomyces maritimus, 523 amino acids and Photorhabdus luminescens, 532 amino acids) lacking this C-terminal domain were also built. Molecular dynamics studies indicated that the Tyr-loop-in conformation was more rigid without the C-terminal multi-helix domain. On this basis it is hypothesized that a role of this C-terminal extension is to decrease the lifetime of eukaryotic PAL by destabilization, which might be important for the rapid responses in the regulation of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis.

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