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Active site residues of glutamate racemase

TitleActive site residues of glutamate racemase
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsGlavas, S, Tanner, ME
JournalBiochemistry
Volume40
Pagination6199-6204
Date PublishedMay
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0006-2960
KeywordsAMINO-ACID RACEMASE, AQUIFEX PYROPHILUS, CARBON ACIDS, ENZYME-CATALYZED REACTIONS, ESCHERICHIA-COLI, INFLUENZAE DIAMINOPIMELATE EPIMERASE, IRREVERSIBLE INHIBITOR, MANDELATE RACEMASE, PROLINE, PROTON ABSTRACTION, RACEMASE
Abstract

Glutamate racemase, MurI, catalyzes the interconversion of glutamate enantiomers in a cofactor-independent fashion and provides bacteria with a source of D-Glu for use in peptidoglycan biosynthesis. The enzyme uses a "two-base" mechanism involving a deprotonation of the substrate at the ct-position to form an anionic intermediate, followed by a reprotonation in the opposite stereochemical sense. In the Lactobacillus fermenti enzyme, Cys73 is responsible for the deprotonation of D-glutamate, and Cys184 is responsible for the deprotonation of L-glutamate; however, very little is known about the roles of other active site residues. This work describes the preparation of four mutants in which strictly conserved residues containing ionizable side chains were modified (D10N, D36N, E152Q, and H186N). During the course of this research, the structural analysis of a crystallized glutamate racemase indicated that three of these residues (D10, E152, and H186) are in the active site of the enzyme [Hwang, K. Y., Cho, C.-S., Kim, S. S., Sung, H.-C., Yu, Y. G., and Cho, Y. (1999) Nat. Struct. Biol. 6, 422-426]. Two of the mutants, D10N and H186N, displayed a marked decrease in the values of k(cat), but not K-M, and are therefore implicated as important catalytic residues. Further analysis of the primary kinetic isotope effects observed with a-deuterated substrates showed that a significant asymmetry was introduced into the free energy profile by these two mutations. This is interpreted as evidence that the mutated residues normally assist the catalytic thiols in acting as bases (D10 with C73 and H186 with C184). An alternate possibility is that the residues may serve to stabilize the carbanionic intermediate in the racemization reaction.

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