Properties of subcloned subunits of bacterial acetohydroxy acid synthases

O. Weinstock, C. Sella, D. M. Chipman, Z. Barak

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The acetohydroxy acid synthase (AHAS) isozymes from enterobacteria are each composed of a large and small subunit in an α2β2 structure. It has been generally accepted that the large (ca. 60-kDa) subunits are catalytic, while the small ones are regulatory. In order to further characterize the roles of the subunits as well as the nature and the specificities of their interactions, we have constructed plasmids encoding the large or small subunits of isozymes AHAS I and AHAS III, each with limited remnants of the other peptide. The catalytic properties of the large subunits have been characterized and compared with those of extracts containing the intact enzyme or of purified enzymes. Antisera to the isolated subunits have been used in Western blot (immunoblot) analyses for qualitative and semiquantitative determinations of the presence of the polypeptides in extracts. The large subunits of AHAS isozymes I and III have lower activities than the intact enzymes: V(max)/K(m) is 20 to 50 times lower in both cases. However, for AHAS I, most of this difference is due to the raised K(m) of the large subunit alone, while for AHAS III, it is due to a lowered V(max). The substrate specificities, R, of large subunits are close to those of the intact enzymes. The catalytic activity of the large subunits of AHAS I is dependent on flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), as is that of the intact enzyme, although the apparent affinities of the large subunits alone for FAD are 10-fold lower. Isolated subunits are insensitive to valine inhibition. Nearly all of the properties of the intact AHAS isozyme I or III can be reconstituted by mixing extracts containing the respective large and small subunits. The mixing of subunits from different enzymes does not lead to activation of the large subunits. It is concluded that the catalytic machinery of these AHAS isozymes is entirely contained within the large subunits. The small subunits are required, however, for specific stabilization of an active conformation of the large subunits as well as for valine sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5560-5566
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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