Format of Original
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Pyruvate carboxylase (PC) is a biotin-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the MgATP- and bicarbonate-dependent carboxylation of pyruvate to oxaloacetate, an important anaplerotic reaction in central metabolism. The carboxyltransferase (CT) domain of PC catalyzes the transfer of a carboxyl group from carboxybiotin to the accepting substrate, pyruvate. It has been hypothesized that the reactive enolpyruvate intermediate is stabilized through a bidentate interaction with the metal ion in the CT domain active site. Whereas bidentate ligands are commonly observed in enzymes catalyzing reactions proceeding through an enolpyruvate intermediate, no bidentate interaction has yet been observed in the CT domain of PC. Here, we report three X-ray crystal structures of the Rhizobium etli PC CT domain with the bound inhibitors oxalate, 3-hydroxypyruvate, and 3-bromopyruvate. Oxalate, a stereoelectronic mimic of the enolpyruvate intermediate, does not interact directly with the metal ion. Instead, oxalate is buried in a pocket formed by several positively charged amino acid residues and the metal ion. Furthermore, both 3-hydroxypyruvate and 3-bromopyruvate, analogs of the reaction product oxaloacetate, bind in an identical manner to oxalate suggesting that the substrate maintains its orientation in the active site throughout catalysis. Together, these structures indicate that the substrates, products and intermediates in the PC-catalyzed reaction are not oriented in the active site as previously assumed. The absence of a bidentate interaction with the active site metal appears to be a unique mechanistic feature among the small group of biotin-dependent enzymes that act on α-keto acid substrates.