Phenylpyruvate tautomerase activity of trans-3-chloroacrylic acid dehalogenase: evidence for an enol intermediate in the dehalogenase reaction?

PMID 17661448


The enzymatic conversion of cis- or trans-3-chloroacrylic acid to malonate semialdehyde is a key step in the bacterial degradation of the nematocide 1,3-dichloropropene. Two mechanisms have been proposed for the isomer-specific hydrolytic dehalogenases, cis- and trans-3-chloroacrylic acid dehalogenase (cis-CaaD and CaaD, respectively), responsible for this step. In one mechanism, the enol isomer of malonate semialdehyde is produced by the alpha,beta-elimination of HCl from an initial halohydrin species. Phenylenolpyruvate has now been found to be a substrate for CaaD with a kcat/Km value that approaches the one determined for the CaaD reaction using trans-3-chloroacrylate. Moreover, the reaction is stereoselective, generating the 3S isomer of [3-2H]phenylpyruvate in a 1.8:1 ratio in 2H2O. These two observations and a kinetic analysis of active site mutants of CaaD suggest that the active site of CaaD is responsible for the phenylpyruvate tautomerase (PPT) activity. The activity is a striking example of catalytic promiscuity and could reflect the presence of an enol intermediate in CaaD-mediated dehalogenation of trans-3-chloroacrylate. CaaD and cis-CaaD represent different families in the tautomerase superfamily, a group of structurally homologous proteins characterized by a core beta-alpha-beta building block and a catalytic Pro-1. The eukaryotic immunoregulatory protein known as macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), also a tautomerase superfamily member, exhibits a PPT activity, but the biological relevance is unknown. In addition to the mechanistic implications, these results establish a functional link between CaaD and the superfamily tautomerases, highlight the catalytic and binding promiscuity of the beta-alpha-beta scaffold, and suggest that the PPT activity of MIF could reflect a partial reaction in an unknown MIF-catalyzed reaction.

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