The Biochemical journal

Kinetic analysis of the role of lipoic acid residues in the pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex of Escherichia coli.

PMID 6772160


The catalytic roles of the two reductively acetylatable lipoic acid residues on each lipoate acetyltransferase chain of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex of Escherichia coli were investigated. Both lipoyl groups are reductively acetylated from pyruvate at the same apparent rate and both can transfer their acetyl groups to CoASH, part-reactions of the overall complex reaction. The complex was treated with N-ethylmaleimide in the presence of pyruvate and the absence of CoASH, conditions that lead to the modification and inactivation of the S-acetyldihydrolipoic acid residues. Modification was found to proceed appreciably faster than the accompanying loss of enzymic activity. The kinetics of the modification were fitted best by supposing that the two lipoyl groups react with the maleimide at different rates, one being modified at approximately 3.5 times the rate of the other. The loss of complex activity took place at a rate approximately equal to that calculated for the modification of the more slowly reacting lipoic acid residue. The simplest interpretation of this result is that only this residue is essential in the overall catalytic mechanism, but an alternative explanation in which one lipoic acid residue can take over the function of another was not ruled out. The kinetics of inactivation could not be reconciled with an obligatory serial interaction between the two lipoic acid residues. Similar experiments with the fluorescent N-[p-(benzimidazol-2-yl)phenyl]maleimide supported these conclusions, although the modification was found to be less specific than with N-ethylmaleimide. The more rapidly modified lipoic acid residue may be involved in the system of intramolecular transacetylation reactions that couple active sites in the lipoate acetyltransferase component.