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REVIEW: Active Site Interactions in Oligomeric Structures of Inorganic Pyrophosphatases

S. M. Avaeva

Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119899 Russia; fax: (095) 939-3181; E-mail: avaeva@genebee.msu.su

Received October 11, 1999
Recent progress in studies of the mode of action of cytoplasmic inorganic pyrophosphatases is mainly due to the analysis of a dozen and a half structures of the apoenzyme, its complexes, and mutants. However, despite considerable research on the mechanism of action of these enzymes, many important problems remain unclear. Among them is the problem of active site interactions in oligomeric structures and their role in catalysis; this review focuses on this problem. The abundant experimental data requires generalization and comprehensive analysis. A characteristic feature of the spatial structure of inorganic pyrophosphatases is a flexible system of noncovalent interactions between protein groups penetrating the whole molecule of the oligomeric enzyme. Binding of metal ions, sulfate (an analog of the product of the enzymatic reaction), and affinity phosphorus-containing inhibitors at the active site or site-directed mutagenesis induce rearrangements in the set of hydrogen and ionic interactions, which change active site properties and in some instances, cause molecule asymmetry. In the trimeric form of Escherichia coli pyrophosphatase obtained by dissociation of a hexamer, active sites also interact with each other, which is manifested by negative cooperativity upon substrate binding. The association of trimers into the hexamer leads to perfect organization of active sites and to their coordinated functioning, probably due to the restoration of communication channels between the trimers.
KEY WORDS: inorganic pyrophosphatase, active site interactions, trimeric enzyme form, X-ray analysis, site-directed mutagenesis