Acetohydroxy acid synthase (AHAS) is one of several enzymes that require thiamine diphosphate and a divalent cation as essential cofactors. Recently, the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme from yeast has been determined [Pang et al., J. Mol. Biol. 317 (2002) 249-262]. While this structure sheds light on the binding of the cofactors and the reaction mechanism, the interactions between the substrates and the enzyme remain unclear. We have studied the pH dependence of kinetic parameters in order to obtain information about the chemical mechanism in the active site. Data are consistent with a mechanism in which substrate selectively catalyzed to the enzyme with an unprotonated base having a pK of 6.48, and a protonated group having a pK of 8.25 for catalysis. The temperature dependence of kinetic parameters was pH-dependent, and the enthalpies of ionization, ΔHion, calculated from the slope of pK1and pK2are both pH-independent. The solvent perturbation of kinetic parameters was pH-dependent, and the pK1from the acidic side and the pK2from the basic side were shifted down 0.4 pH units and shifted up 0.6 units as water was replaced by 15% ethanol, respectively. The data are discussed in terms of the acid-base chemical mechanism. © 2003 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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