|Gong, J.; Hunter, G. A.; Ferreira, G. C.
|Aspartate-279 in aminolevulinate synthase affects enzyme catalysis through enhancing the function of the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate cofactor
|5-Aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS) catalyzes the first step in the heme biosynthetic pathway in nonplant eukaryotes and some prokaryotes, which is the condensation of glycine with succinyl-coenzyme A to yield coenzyme A, carbon dioxide, and 5-aminolevulinate. ALAS requires pyridoxal 5'-phosphate as an essential cofactor and functions as a homodimer. D279 in murine erythroid enzyme was found to be conserved in all aminolevulinate synthases and appeared to be homologous to D222 in aspartate aminotransferase, where the side chain of the residue stabilizes the protonated form of the cofactor ring nitrogen, thus enhancing the electron sink function of the cofactor during enzyme catalysis. D279A mutation in ALAS resulted in no detectable enzymatic activity under standard assay conditions, and the conservative D279E mutation reduced the catalytic efficiency for succinyl-CoA 30-fold. The D279A mutation resulted in a 19-fold increase in the dissociation constant for binding of the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate cofactor. UV-visible and CD spectroscopic analyses indicated that the D279A mutant binds the cofactor in a different mode at the active site. In contrast to the wild-type and D279E mutant, the D279A mutant failed to catalyze the formation of a quinonoid intermediate upon binding of 5- aminolevulinate. Importantly, this partial reaction could be rescued in D279A by reconstitution of the mutant with the cofactor analogue N- methyl-PLP. The steady-state kinetic isotope effect when deuteroglycine was substituted for glycine was small for the wild-type enzyme (kH/kD = 1.2 +/- 0.1), but a strong isotope effect was observed with the D279E mutant (kH/kD = 7.7 +/- 0.3). pH titration of the external aldimine formed with ALA indicated the D279E mutation increased the apparent pKa for quinonoid formation from 8.10 to 8.25. The results are consistent with the proposal that D279 plays a crucial role in aminolevulinate synthase catalysis by enhancing the electron sink function of the cofactor.