Structure and biosynthesis of a pyruvate-dependent enzyme--phosphatidylserine decarboxylase from Escherichia coli

Qiao-Xin Li, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Phosphatidylserine decarboxylase of E. coli, a cytoplasmic membrane protein, catalyzes the formation of phosphatidylethanolamine, the principal phospholipid of the organism. The activity of the enzyme is dependent on a covalently bound pyruvate (Satre and Kennedy (1978) J. Biol. Chem. 253, 479-483). This study shows that the enzyme consists of two nonidentical subunits, $\alpha$ (Mr = 7,332) and $\beta$ (Mr = 28,579), with the pyruvate prosthetic group in amide linkage to the amino-terminus of the $\alpha$ subunit. Partial protein sequence and DNA sequence analysis reveal that the two subunits are derived from a proenzyme ($\pi$ subunit, Mr = 35,893) through a post-translational event. During the conversion of the proenzyme to the $\alpha$ and $\beta$ subunits, the peptide bond between Gly253-Ser254 is cleaved, and Ser254 is converted to the pyruvate prosthetic group at the amino-terminus of the $\alpha$ subunit (Li and Dowhan (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 11516-11522). The proenzyme cannot be detected in cells carrying either single or multiple copies of the gene (psd), but can be observed in a T7 RNA polymerase/promoter and transcription-translation system. The cleavage of the wild-type proenzyme occurs rapidly with a half-time on the order of 2 min. Changing of the Ser254 to cysteine (S254C) or threonine (S254T) slows the cleavage rate dramatically and results in mutants with a half-time for processing of around 2-4 h. Change of the Ser254 to alanine (S254A) blocks the cleavage of the proenzyme. The reduced processing rate with the mutations of the proenzyme is consistent with less of the functional enzyme being made. Mutants S254C and S254T produce $\sim$15% and $\sim$1%, respectively, of the activity of the wild-type allele, but can still complement a temperature-sensitive mutant of the psd locus. Neither detectable activity nor complementation is observed by mutant S254A. These results are consistent with the hydroxyl-group of the Ser254 playing a critical role in the cleavage of the peptide bond Gly253-Ser254 of the pro-phosphatidylserine decarboxylase, and support the mechanism proposed by Snell and co-workers (Recsei and Snell (1984) Annu. Rev. Biochem. 53, 357-387) for the formation of the prosthetic group of pyruvate-dependent decarboxylases.

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Recommended Citation

Li, Qiao-Xin, "Structure and biosynthesis of a pyruvate-dependent enzyme--phosphatidylserine decarboxylase from Escherichia coli" (1989). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9008972.