Structure of the catalytic chain of Methanococcus jannaschii aspartate transcarbamoylase in a hexagonal crystal form: Insights into the path of carbamoyl phosphate to the active site of the enzyme

Department of Physics, Cleveland State University, Euclid Avenue at East 24th Street, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications (Impact Factor: 0.53). 05/2012; 68(Pt 5):527-34. DOI: 10.1107/S1744309112011037
Source: PubMed


Crystals of the catalytic chain of Methanococcus jannaschii aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) grew in the presence of the regulatory chain in the hexagonal space group P6(3)22, with one monomer per asymmetric unit. This is the first time that crystals with only one monomer in the asymmetric unit have been obtained; all known structures of the catalytic subunit contain several crystallographically independent monomers. The symmetry-related chains form the staggered dimer of trimers observed in the other known structures of the catalytic subunit. The central channel of the catalytic subunit contains a sulfate ion and a K(+) ion as well as a glycerol molecule at its entrance. It is possible that it is involved in channeling carbamoyl phosphate (CP) to the active site of the enzyme. A second sulfate ion near Arg164 is near the second CP position in the wild-type Escherichia coli ATCase structure complexed with CP. It is suggested that this position may also be in the path that CP takes when binding to the active site in a partial diffusion process at 310 K. Additional biochemical studies of carbamoylation and the molecular organization of this enzyme in M. jannaschii will provide further insight into these points.

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    ABSTRACT: Enzymes in the transcarbamylase family catalyze the transfer of a carbamyl group from carbamyl phosphate (CP) to an amino group of a second substrate. The two best-characterized members, aspartate transcarbamylase (ATCase) and ornithine transcarbamylase (OTCase), are present in most organisms from bacteria to humans. Recently, structures of four new transcarbamylase members, N-acetyl-l-ornithine transcarbamylase (AOTCase), N-succinyl-l-ornithine transcarbamylase (SOTCase), ygeW encoded transcarbamylase (YTCase) and putrescine transcarbamylase (PTCase) have also been determined. Crystal structures of these enzymes have shown that they have a common overall fold with a trimer as their basic biological unit. The monomer structures share a common CP binding site in their N-terminal domain, but have different second substrate binding sites in their C-terminal domain. The discovery of three new transcarbamylases, l-2,3-diaminopropionate transcarbamylase (DPTCase), l-2,4-diaminobutyrate transcarbamylase (DBTCase) and ureidoglycine transcarbamylase (UGTCase), demonstrates that our knowledge and understanding of the spectrum of the transcarbamylase family is still incomplete. In this review, we summarize studies on the structures and function of transcarbamylases demonstrating how structural information helps to define biological function and how small structural differences govern enzyme specificity. Such information is important for correctly annotating transcarbamylase sequences in the genome databases and for identifying new members of the transcarbamylase family.
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