Kinetic characterization of methionine γ-lyases from the enteric protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica against physiological substrates and trifluoromethionine, a promising lead compound against amoebiasis

  • Sato D
  • Yamagata W
  • Harada S
 et al. 
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Methionine gamma-lyase (MGL) (EC, which is present in certain lineages of bacteria, plants, and protozoa but missing in mammals, catalyzes the single-step degradation of sulfur-containing amino acids (SAAs) to alpha-keto acids, ammonia, and thiol compounds. In contrast to other organisms possessing MGL, anaerobic parasitic protists, namely Entamoeba histolytica and Trichomonas vaginalis, harbor a pair of MGL isozymes. The enteric protozoon En. histolytica shows various unique aspects in its metabolism, particularly degradation of SAAs. Trifluoromethionine (TFM), a halogenated analog of Met, has been exploited as a therapeutic agent against cancer as well as against infections by protozoan organisms and periodontal bacteria. However, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. In addition, the physiological significance of the presence of two MGL isozymes in these protists remains unclear. In this study, we compared kinetic parameters of the wild-type and mutants, engineered by site-directed mutagenesis, of the two MGL isotypes from En. histolytica (EhMGL1 and EhMGL2) for various potential substrates and TFM. Intracellular concentrations of l-Met and l-Cys suggested that these SAAs are predominantly metabolized by EhMGL1, not by EhMGL2. It is unlikely that O-acetyl-l-serine is decomposed by EhMGLs, given the kinetic parameters of cysteine synthase reported previously. Comparison of the wild-type and mutants revealed that the contributions of several amino acids implicated in catalysis differ between the two isozymes, and that the degradation of TFM is less sensitive to alterations of these residues than is the degradation of physiological substrates. These results support the use of TFM to target MGL.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Amoebiasis
  • Methionine γ-lyase
  • Site-directed mutagenesis
  • Sulfur-containing amino acid
  • Trifluoromethionine

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  • Dan Sato

  • Wataru Yamagata

  • Shigeharu Harada

  • Tomoyoshi Nozaki

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