The enzymatic activity of Pseudomonas fluorescens α-amino-β- carboxymuconic-ε-semialdehyde decarboxylase (ACMSD) is critically dependent on a transition metal ion [Li, T., Walker, A. L., Iwaki, H., Hasegawa, Y., and Liu, A. (2005) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 12282-12290]. Sequence analysis in this study further suggests that ACMSD belongs to the amidohydrolase superfamily, whose structurally characterized members comprise a catalytically essential metal cofactor. To identify ACMSD's metal ligands and assess their functions in catalysis, a site-directed mutagenesis analysis was conducted. Alteration of His-9, His-177, and Asp-294 resulted in a dramatic loss of enzyme activity, substantial reduction of the metal-binding ability, and an altered metallocenter electronic structure. Thus, these residues are confirmed to be the endogenous metal ligands. His-11 is implicated in metal binding because of the strictly conserved HxH motif with His-9. Mutations at the 228 site yielded nearly inactive enzyme variants H228A and H228E. The two His-228 mutant proteins, however, exhibited full metal-binding ability and a metal center similar to that of the wild-type enzyme as shown by EPR spectroscopy. Kinetic analysis on the mutants indicates that His-228 is a critical catalytic residue along with the metal cofactor. Since the identified metal ligands and His-228 are present in all known ACMSD sequences, it is likely that ACMSD proteins from other organisms contain the same cofactor and share similar catalytic mechanisms. ACMSD is therefore the first characterized member in the amidohydrolase superfamily that represents a C-C breaking activity.
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