Research Article | Open Access
AMP-forming acetyl-CoA synthetases in Archaea show unexpected diversity in substrate utilization
Adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-forming acetyl-CoA synthetase (ACS; acetate:CoA ligase (AMP-forming), EC 22.214.171.124) is a key enzyme for conversion of acetate to acetyl-CoA, an essential intermediate at the junction of anabolic and catabolic pathways. Phylogenetic analysis of putative short and medium chain acyl-CoA synthetase sequences indicates that the ACSs form a distinct clade from other acyl-CoA synthetases. Within this clade, the archaeal ACSs are not monophyletic and fall into three groups composed of both bacterial and archaeal sequences. Kinetic analysis of two archaeal enzymes, an ACS from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (designated as MT-ACS1) and an ACS from Archaeoglobus fulgidus (designated as AF-ACS2), revealed that these enzymes have very different properties. MT-ACS1 has nearly 11-fold higher affinity and 14-fold higher catalytic efficiency with acetate than with propionate, a property shared by most ACSs. However, AF-ACS2 has only 2.3-fold higher affinity and catalytic efficiency with acetate than with propionate. This enzyme has an affinity for propionate that is almost identical to that of MT-ACS1 for acetate and nearly tenfold higher than the affinity of MT-ACS1 for propionate. Furthermore, MT-ACS1 is limited to acetate and propionate as acyl substrates, whereas AF-ACS2 can also utilize longer straight and branched chain acyl substrates. Phylogenetic analysis, sequence alignment and structural modeling suggest a molecular basis for the altered substrate preference and expanded substrate range of AF-ACS2 versus MT-ACS1.
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