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Caulkins, B. G; Yang, C.; Hilario, E.; Fan, L.; Dunn, M. F.; Mueller, L. J. 2015. Catalytic Roles of βLys87 in Tryptophan Synthase: 15N Solid State NMR Studies. BBA - Proteins and Proteomics 1854: 1194-1199. Full Article

The proposed mechanism for tryptophan synthase shows βLys87 playing multiple catalytic roles: it bonds to the PLP cofactor, activates C4′ for nucleophilic attack via a protonated Schiff base nitrogen, and abstracts and returns protons to PLP-bound substrates (i.e. acid-base catalysis). ε-15N-lysine TS was prepared to access the protonation state of βLys87 using 15N solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) spectroscopy for three quasi-stable intermediates along the reaction pathway. These experiments establish that the protonation state of the ε-amino group switches between protonated and neutral states as the β-site undergoes conversion from one intermediate to the next during catalysis, corresponding to mechanistic steps where this lysine residue has been anticipated to play alternating acid and base catalytic roles that help steer reaction specificity in tryptophan synthase catalysis.

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