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Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society

Human thymidylate synthase with loop 181-197 stabilized in an inactive conformation: ligand interactions, phosphorylation, and inhibition profiles.


PMID 21064161

Abstract

Thymidylate synthase (TS) is a well-validated cancer target that undergoes conformational switching between active and inactive states. Two mutant human TS (hTS) proteins are predicted from crystal structures to be stabilized in an inactive conformation to differing extents, with M190K populating the inactive conformation to a greater extent than A191K. Studies of intrinsic fluorescence and circular dichroism revealed that the structures of the mutants differ from those of hTS. Inclusion of the substrate dUMP was without effect on M190K but induced structural changes in A191K that are unique, relative to hTS. The effect of strong stabilization in an inactive conformation on protein phosphorylation by casein kinase 2 (CK2) was investigated. M190K was highly phosphorylated by CK2 relative to an active-stabilized mutant, R163K hTS. dUMP had no detectable effect on phosphorylation of M190K; however, dUMP inhibited phosphorylation of hTS and R163K. Studies of temperature dependence of catalysis revealed that the E(act) and temperature optimum are higher for A191K than hTS. The potency of the active-site inhibitor, raltitrexed, was lower for A191K than hTS. The response of A191K to the allosteric inhibitor, propylene diphosphonate (PDPA) was concentration dependent. Mixed inhibition was observed at low concentrations; at higher concentrations, A191K exhibited nonhyperbolic behavior with respect to dUMP and inhibition of catalysis was reversed by substrate saturation. In summary, inactive-stabilized mutants differ from hTS in thermal stability and response to substrates and PDPA. Importantly, phosphorylation of hTS by CK2 is selective for the inactive conformation, providing the first indication of physiological relevance for conformational switching.

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