Journal of the American Chemical Society

Bifunctionality of the thiamin diphosphate cofactor: assignment of tautomeric/ionization states of the 4'-aminopyrimidine ring when various intermediates occupy the active sites during the catalysis of yeast pyruvate decarboxylase.

PMID 22300533


Thiamin diphosphate (ThDP) dependent enzymes perform crucial C-C bond forming and breaking reactions in sugar and amino acid metabolism and in biosynthetic pathways via a sequence of ThDP-bound covalent intermediates. A member of this superfamily, yeast pyruvate decarboxylase (YPDC) carries out the nonoxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and is mechanistically a simpler ThDP enzyme. YPDC variants created by substitution at the active center (D28A, E51X, and E477Q) and on the substrate activation pathway (E91D and C221E) display varying activity, suggesting that they stabilize different covalent intermediates. To test the role of both rings of ThDP in YPDC catalysis (the 4'-aminopyrimidine as acid-base, and thiazolium as electrophilic covalent catalyst), we applied a combination of steady state and time-resolved circular dichroism experiments (assessing the state of ionization and tautomerization of enzyme-bound ThDP-related intermediates), and chemical quench of enzymatic reaction mixtures followed by NMR characterization of the ThDP-bound intermediates released from YPDC (assessing occupancy of active centers by these intermediates and rate-limiting steps). Results suggest the following: (1) Pyruvate and analogs induce active site asymmetry in YPDC and variants. (2) The rare 1',4'-iminopyrimidine ThDP tautomer participates in formation of ThDP-bound intermediates. (3) Propionylphosphinate also binds at the regulatory site and its binding is reflected by catalytic events at the active site 20 Å away. (4) YPDC stabilizes an electrostatic model for the 4'-aminopyrimidinium ionization state, an important contribution of the protein to catalysis. The combination of tools used provides time-resolved details about individual events during ThDP catalysis; the methods are transferable to other ThDP superfamily members.