PloS one

Characterization of the biosynthesis, processing and kinetic mechanism of action of the enzyme deficient in mucopolysaccharidosis IIIC.

PMID 21957468


Heparin acetyl-CoA:alpha-glucosaminide N-acetyltransferase (N-acetyltransferase, EC is an integral lysosomal membrane protein containing 11 transmembrane domains, encoded by the HGSNAT gene. Deficiencies of N-acetyltransferase lead to mucopolysaccharidosis IIIC. We demonstrate that contrary to a previous report, the N-acetyltransferase signal peptide is co-translationally cleaved and that this event is required for its intracellular transport to the lysosome. While we confirm that the N-acetyltransferase precursor polypeptide is processed in the lysosome into a small amino-terminal alpha- and a larger ß- chain, we further characterize this event by identifying the mature amino-terminus of each chain. We also demonstrate this processing step(s) is not, as previously reported, needed to produce a functional transferase, i.e., the precursor is active. We next optimize the biochemical assay procedure so that it remains linear as N-acetyltransferase is purified or protein-extracts containing N-acetyltransferase are diluted, by the inclusion of negatively charged lipids. We then use this assay to demonstrate that the purified single N-acetyltransferase protein is both necessary and sufficient to express transferase activity, and that N-acetyltransferase functions as a monomer. Finally, the kinetic mechanism of action of purified N-acetyltransferase was evaluated and found to be a random sequential mechanism involving the formation of a ternary complex with its two substrates; i.e., N-acetyltransferase does not operate through a ping-pong mechanism as previously reported. We confirm this conclusion by demonstrating experimentally that no acetylated enzyme intermediate is formed during the reaction.

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