Lysine(164)alpha of protein farnesyltransferase is important for both CaaX substrate binding and catalysis.
Protein farnesyltransferase (FTase) catalyses the formation of a thioether linkage between proteins containing a C-terminal CaaX motif and a 15-carbon isoprenoid. The involvement of substrates such as oncogenic Ras proteins in tumour formation has led to intense efforts in targeting this enzyme for development of therapeutics. In an ongoing programme to elucidate the mechanism of catalysis by FTase, specific residues of the enzyme identified in structural studies as potentially important in substrate binding and catalysis are being targeted for mutagenesis. In the present study, the role of the positive charge of Lys(164) of the alpha subunit of FTase in substrate binding and catalysis was investigated. Comparison of the wild-type enzyme with enzymes that have either an arginine or alanine residue substituted at this position revealed unexpected roles for this residue in both substrate binding and catalysis. Removal of the positive charge had a significant effect on the association rate constant and the binding affinity of a CaaX peptide substrate, indicating that the positive charge of Lys(164)alpha is involved in formation of the enzyme (E).farnesyl diphosphate (FPP).peptide ternary complex. Furthermore, mutation of Lys(164)alpha resulted in a substantial decrease in the observed rate constant for product formation without alteration of the chemical mechanism. These and additional studies provide compelling evidence that both the charge on Lys(164)alpha, as well as the positioning of the charge, are important for overall catalysis by FTase.
Hightower, KE; De, S; Weinbaum, C; Spence, RA; Casey, PJ
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