The subunit structures and conservation of the dihydrolipoyl transacylase (E2) components of bovine and human branched-chain a-keto acid dehydrogenase complexes were investigated by Western blotting, peptide sequencing, and cDNA cloning methods. Rabbit antiserum prepared against the sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) denaturated bovine E2 subunit recognized the inner E2 core, and the first hinge region of the E2 chain, but failed to react with the lipoyl-bearing domain as determined by Western blot analysis. The lack of antigenicity in the lipoyl-bearing domain was confirmed with antibodies directed against the native E2 component. A human E2 cDNA (1.6 kb) was isolated from a human liver cDNA library in λgtl 1 with a combination of the above anti-native and anti-SDS-denatured E2 immunoglobulin G's as a probe. The fidelity of the human E2 cDNA was established by nucleotide sequencing which showed the determined peptide sequences of the amino terminus and tryptic fragments of bovine E2. A bovine E2 cDNA (0.7 kb) was also isolated from a bovine liver cDNA library in XZAP with the human E2 cDNA as a probe. Northern blot analysis using the human E2 cDNA probe showed that E2 mRNAs in bovine liver and human kidney mesangial cells are 3.3 and 4.6 kb in size, respectively. Primary structures derived from human and bovine E2 cDNAs show leader sequences including the initiator methionine and the homologous mature peptides consisting of complete lipoyl-bearing and dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase (E3) binding domains and two hinge regions. In addition, the human E2 cDNA contains a portion of the inner E2 core sequence, a 3'-untranslated region, and a poly(A+) tail. Deduced amino acid sequences of the mammalian E2's were compared with those of Escherichia coli transacetylase and transsuccinylase and bovine kidney transacetylase. The results indicate a high degree of conservation in the sequence flanking the lipoyl-attachment site and in the E3-binding domain. Models are presented to discuss implications for the conserved structure-function relationship in the lipoyl-bearing and E3-binding domains of a-keto acid dehydrogenase complexes.
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