The role of substrate strain in the mechanism of the carbon-carbon lyases.

Research paper by Robert S RS Phillips, Tatyana V TV Demidkina, Nicolai G NG Faleev

Indexed on: 19 Jul '14Published on: 19 Jul '14Published in: Bioorganic Chemistry


The carbon-carbon lyases, tryptophan indole lyase (TIL) and tyrosine phenol-lyase (TPL) are bacterial enzymes which catalyze the reversible elimination of indole and phenol from l-tryptophan and l-tyrosine, respectively. These PLP-dependent enzymes show high sequence homology (∼40% identity) and both form homotetrameric structures. Steady state kinetic studies with both enzymes show that an active site base is essential for activity, and α-deuterated substrates exhibit modest primary isotope effects on kcat and kcat/Km, suggesting that substrate deprotonation is partially rate-limiting. Pre-steady state kinetics with TPL and TIL show rapid formation of external aldimine intermediates, followed by deprotonation to give quinonoid intermediates absorbing at about 500nm. In the presence of phenol and indole analogues, 4-hydroxypyridine and benzimidazole, the quinonoid intermediates of TPL and TIL decay to aminoacrylate intermediates, with λmax at about 340nm. Surprisingly, there are significant kinetic isotope effects on both formation and subsequent decay of the quinonoid intermediates when α-deuterated substrates are used. The crystal structure of TPL with a bound competitive inhibitor, 4-hydroxyphenylpropionate, identified several essential catalytic residues: Tyr-71, Thr-124, Arg-381, and Phe-448. The active sites of TIL and TPL are highly conserved with the exceptions of these residues: Arg-381(TPL)/Ile-396 (TIL); Thr-124 (TPL)/Asp-137 (TIL), and Phe-448 (TPL)/His-463 (TIL). Mutagenesis of these residues results in dramatic decreases in catalytic activity without changing substrate specificity. The conserved tyrosine, Tyr-71 (TPL)/Tyr-74 (TIL) is essential for elimination activity with both enzymes, and likely plays a role as a proton donor to the leaving group. Mutation of Arg-381 and Thr-124 of TPL to alanine results in very low but measurable catalytic activity. Crystallography of Y71F and F448H TPL with 3-fluoro-l-tyrosine bound demonstrated that there are two quinonoid structures, relaxed and tense. In the relaxed structure, the substrate aromatic ring is in plane with the Cβ-Cγ bond, but in the tense structure, the substrate aromatic ring is about 20° out of plane with the Cβ-Cγ bond. In the tense structure, hydrogen bonds are formed between the substrate OH and the guanidinium of Arg-381 and the OH of Thr-124, and the phenyl rings of Phe-448 and 449 provide steric strain. Based on the effects of mutagenesis, the substrate strain is estimated to contribute about 10(8) to TPL catalysis. Thus, the mechanisms of TPL and TIL require both substrate strain and acid/base catalysis, and substrate strain is probably responsible for the very high substrate specificity of TPL and TIL.