Acetohydroxyacid synthase: A proposed structure for regulatory subunits supported by evidence from mutagenesis

Sharon Mendel, Tsiona Elkayam, Carmen Sella, Valery Vinogradov, Maria Vyazmensky, David M. Chipman, Ze'ev Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Valine inhibition of acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) plays an important role in regulation of biosynthesis of branched-chain amino acids in bacteria. Bacterial AHASs are composed of separate catalytic and regulatory subunits; while the catalytic subunits appear to be homologous with several other thiamin diphosphate-dependent enzymes, there has been no model for the structure of the small, regulatory subunits (SSUs). AHAS III is one of three isozymes in Escherichia coli. Its large subunit (encoded by ilvI) by itself has 3-5% activity of the holoenzyme and is not sensitive to inhibition by valine. The SSU (encoded by ilvH) associates with the large subunit and is required for full catalytic activity and valine sensitivity. The isolated SSU binds valine. The properties of several mutant SSUs shed light on the relation between their structure and regulatory function. Three mutant SSUs were obtained from spontaneous ValR bacterial mutants and three more were designed on the basis of an alignment of SSU sequences from valine-sensitive and resistant isozymes, or consideration of the molecular model developed here. Mutant SSUs N11A, G14D, N29H and A36V, when reconstituted with wild-type large subunit, lead to a holoenzyme with drastically reduced valine sensitivity, but with a specific activity similar to that of the wild-type. The isolated G14D and N29H subunits do not bind valine. Mutant Q59L leads to a valine-sensitive holoenzyme and isolated Q59L binds valine. T34I has an intermediate valine sensitivity. The effects of mutations on the affinity of the large subunits for SSUs also vary. D. Fischer's hybrid fold prediction method suggested a fold similarity between the N terminus of the ilvH product and the C-terminal regulatory domain of 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase. On the basis of this prediction, together with the properties of the mutants, a model for the structure of the AHAS SSUs and the location of the valine-binding sites can be proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Mar 2001


  • Acetohydroxyacid synthase
  • Acetolactate synthase
  • Allosteric effects
  • Fold prediction
  • Valine inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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