alexa The streptococcal hyaluronan synthases are inhibited by sulfhydryl-modifying reagents, but conserved cysteine residues are not essential for enzyme function.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics

Author(s): Kumari K, TlapakSimmons VL, Baggenstoss BA, Weigel PH

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Abstract Hyaluronan (HA) synthase (HAS) is a membrane-bound enzyme that utilizes UDP-glucuronic acid (GlcUA) and UDP-GlcNAc to synthesize HA. The HAS from Streptococcus pyogenes (spHAS, 419 amino acids) contains six Cys residues, whereas the enzyme from Streptococcus equisimilis (seHAS, 417 amino acids) contains four Cys residues. These Cys residues of seHAS are highly conserved in all Class I HAS family members. Here we investigated the structural and functional roles of these conserved cysteines in seHAS by using site-directed mutagenesis and sensitivity to sulfhydryl modifying reagents. Both seHAS and spHAS were inhibited by sulfhydryl reagents such as N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) and iodoacetamide in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. These inhibition curves were biphasic, indicating the presence of sensitive and insensitive components. After treatment of seHAS with NEM, the V(max) value was decreased approximately 50\%, and the K(m) values changed only slightly. All the Cys-to-Ala mutants of seHAS were partially active. The least active single (C226A), double (C226A,C262A), or triple (C226A,C262A,C367A) Cys mutants retained 24, 3.2, and 1.4\% activity, respectively, compared with wild-type enzyme. Surprisingly, the V(max) value of the seHAS(cys-null) mutant was approximately 17\% of wild-type, although the K(m) values for both substrates were increased 3-6-fold. Cys residues, therefore, are not involved in a critical interaction necessary for either substrate binding or catalysis. However, the distribution of HA products was shifted to a smaller size in approximately 25\% of the seHAS Cys mutants, particularly the triple mutants. Mass spectroscopic analysis of wild-type and Cys-null seHAS as well as the labeling of all double Cys-to-Ala mutants with [(14)C]NEM demonstrated that seHAS contains no disulfide bonds. We conclude that the four Cys residues in seHAS are not directly involved in catalysis, but that one or more of these Cys residues are located in or near substrate binding or glycosyltransferase active sites, so that their modification hinders the functions of HAS. This article was published in J Biol Chem and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics

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