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Enzyme Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 939068, 13 pages
Research Article

Asp295 Stabilizes the Active-Site Loop Structure of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase, Facilitating Phosphorylation of Ser292 by Pyruvate Dehydrogenase-Kinase

1Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2Interdisciplinary Plant Group, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
3Plant Genetics Research Unit, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Received 23 September 2010; Accepted 5 November 2010

Academic Editor: Heung Chin Cheng

Copyright © 2011 Tripty A. Hirani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We have developed an in vitro system for detailed analysis of reversible phosphorylation of the plant mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, comprising recombinant Arabidopsis thaliana α2β2-heterotetrameric pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) plus A. thaliana E1-kinase (AtPDK). Upon addition of MgATP, Ser292, which is located within the active-site loop structure of E1α, is phosphorylated. In addition to Ser292, Asp295 and Gly297 are highly conserved in the E1α active-site loop sequences. Mutation of Asp295 to Ala, Asn, or Leu greatly reduced phosphorylation of Ser292, while mutation of Gly297 had relatively little effect. Quantitative two-hybrid analysis was used to show that mutation of Asp295 did not substantially affect binding of AtPDK to E1α. When using pyruvate as a variable substrate, the Asp295 mutant proteins had modest changes in kcat, Km, and kcat/Km values. Therefore, we propose that Asp295 plays an important role in stabilizing the active-site loop structure, facilitating transfer of the γ-phosphate from ATP to the Ser residue at regulatory site one of E1α.