Lysine 256, a conserved amino acid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxykinase located in the consensus kinase 1a sequence of the enzyme, was changed to alanine, arginine, or glutamine by site-directed mutagenesis. These substitutions did not result in gross changes in the protein structure, as indicated by circular dichroism, tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy, and gel-exclusion chromatography. The three variant enzymes showed almost unaltered K(m) for MnADP but about a 20 000-fold decrease in V(max) for the PEP carboxylation reaction, as compared to wild-type PEP carboxykinase. The variant enzymes presented oxaloacetate decarboxylase activity at levels similar to those of the native protein; however, they lacked pyrorate kinase-like activity. The dissociation constant for the enzymeMnATP complex was 1.3 ± 0.3 μM for wild-type S. cerevisiae PEP carboxykinase, and the corresponding values for the Lys256Arg, Lys256Gln, and Lys256Ala mutants were 2.0 ± 0.6 μM, 17 ± 2 μM, and 20 ± 6 μM, respectively. These results collectively show that a positively charged residue is required for proper binding of MnATP and that Lys256 plays an essential role in transition state stabilization during phosphoryl transfer for S. cerevisiae PEP carboxykinase.
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