The carboligation reaction of acetohydroxyacid synthase II: Steady-state intermediate distributions in wild type and mutants by NMR

Kai Tittmann, Maria Vyazmensky, Gerhard Hübner, Ze'ev Barak, David M. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The thiamin diphosphate (ThDP)-dependent enzyme acetohydroxyacid synthase (AHAS) catalyzes the first common step in branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis. By specific ligation of pyruvate with the alternative acceptor substrates 2-ketobutyrate and pyruvate, AHAS controls the flux through this branch point and determines the relative rates of synthesis of isoleucine, valine, and leucine, respectively. We used detailed NMR analysis to determine microscopic rate constants for elementary steps in the reactions of AHAS II and mutants altered at conserved residues Arg-275, Trp-464, and Met-250. In Arg276Lys, both the condensation of the enzyme-bound hydroxyethyl-ThDP carbanion/enamine (HEThDP) with the acceptor substrates and acetohydroxyacid release are slowed several orders of magnitude relative to the wild-type enzyme. We propose that the interaction of the guanidinium moiety of Arg-264 with the carboxylate of the acceptor ketoacid provides an optimal alignment of substrate and HEThDP Orbitals in the reaction trajectory for acceptor ligation, whereas its interaction with the carboxylate of the covalent HEThDP-acceptor adduct plays a similar role in product release. Both Trp-464 and Met-250 affect the acceptor specificity. The high preference for ketobutyrate in the wild-type enzyme is lost in Trp464Leu as a consequence of similar forward rate constants of carboligation and product release for the alternative acceptors. In Met250Ala, the turnover rate is determined by the condensation of HEThDP with pyruvate and release of the acetolactate product, whereas the parallel steps with 2-ketobutyrate are considerably faster. We speculate that the specificity of carboligation and product liberation may be cumulative if the former is not completely committed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-558
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2005


  • Amino acid biosynthesis
  • Mechanism
  • Thiamin diphosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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