Identification of two residues essential for the stringent substrate specificity and active site stability of the prokaryotic l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase CyrA

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A novel prokaryotic l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (CyrA; EC is involved in the biosynthesis of the polyketide-derived cytotoxin cylindrospermopsin in the cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii AWT250, and was previously characterized with regard to kinetic mechanism and substrate specificity [Muenchhoff J et al. (2010) FEBS J277, 3844–3860]. In order to elucidate the structure–function–stability relationship of this enzyme, two residues in its active site were replaced with the residues that occur in the human l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (h-AGAT) at the corresponding positions (F245N and S247M), and a double variant carrying both substitutions was also created. In h-AGAT, both of these residues are critical for the function of this enzyme with regard to substrate binding, ligand-induced structural changes, and stability of the active site. In this study, we demonstrated that both single residue replacements resulted in a dramatic broadening of substrate specificity, but did not affect the kinetic mechanism. Experiments with substrate analogues indicate that donor substrates require a carboxylate group for binding. Evidence from initial velocity studies suggests that CyrA undergoes ligand-induced structural changes that involve Phe245. Stability parameters (Topt and Tmax) of the CyrA variants differed from those of wild-type CyrA. Structural flexibilities of the wild type and all three variants were comparable on the basis of dynamic fluorescence quenching, indicating that changes in Topt are most likely attributable to localized effects within the active site. Overall, the results indicated that these two residues are essential for both stringent substrate specificity and the active site stability and flexibility of this unique cyanobacterial enzyme.

In order to elucidate the structure-function-stability relationship of the novel prokaryotic l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase CyrA, two amino acid residues in its active site were replaced with the residues occurring in the human l-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase at the corresponding position. We demonstrate that either amino acid replacement affected the structural stability of the enzyme and dramatically broadened its substrate specificity.

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