Studies of the Structure and Function of E.coli Aspartate Transcarbamoylase
Loftus, Katherine Marie. “Studies of the Structure and Function of E.coli Aspartate Transcarbamoylase”. BS, Boston College, 2006. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/580.
E.coli Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase) is the allosteric enzyme that catalyzes the committed step of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway. ATCase facilitates the reaction between L-aspartate and carbamoyl phosphate to form N-carbamoyl-L-aspartate and inorganic phosphate. The holoenzyme is a dodecamer, consisting of two trimers of catalytic chains, and three dimers of regulatory chains. ATCase is regulated homotropically by its substrates, and heterotropically by the nucleotides ATP, CTP, and UTP. These nucleotides bind to the regulatory chains, and alter the activity of the enzyme at the catalytic site. ATP activates the rate of ATCase's reaction, while CTP inhibits it. Additionally, UTP and CTP act together to inhibit the enzyme synergistically, each nucleotide enhancing the inhibitory effects of the other. Two classes of CTP binding sites have been observed, one class with a high affinity for CTP, and one with a low affinity. It has been theorized that the asymmetry of the binding sites is intrinsic to each of the three regulatory dimers. It has been hypothesized that the second observed class of CTP binding sites, are actually sites intended for UTP. To test this hypothesis, and to gain more information about heterotropic regulation of ATCase and signal transmission in allosteric enzymes, the construction of a hybrid regulatory dimer was proposed. In the successfully constructed hybrid, each of the three regulatory dimers in ATCase would contain one regulatory chain with compromised nucleotide binding. This project reports several attempts at constructing the proposed hybrid, but ultimately the hybrid enzyme was not attained. This project also reports preliminary work on the characterization of the catalytic chain mutant D141A. This residue is conserved in ATCase over a wide array of species, and thus was mutated in order to ascertain its significance.