Dual roles of a conserved pair, Arg23 and Ser20, in recognition of multiple substrates in alpha-aminoadipate aminotransferase from Thermus thermophilus

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 9;388(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.07.096. Epub 2009 Jul 24.


To clarify the mechanism for substrate recognition of alpha-aminoadipate aminotransferase (AAA-AT) from Thermus thermophilus, the crystal structure of AAA-AT complexed with N-(5'-phosphopyridoxyl)-l-glutamate (PPE) was determined at 1.67 A resolution. The crystal structure revealed that PPE is recognized by amino acid residues the same as those seen in N-(5'-phosphopyridoxyl)-l-alpha-aminoadipate (PPA) recognition; however, to bind the gamma-carboxyl group of Glu at a fixed position, the Calpha atom of the Glu moiety moves 0.80 A toward the gamma-carboxyl group in the PPE complex. Markedly decreased activity for Asp can be explained by the shortness of the aspartyl side chain to be recognized by Arg23 and further dislocation of the Calpha atom of bound Asp. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that Arg23 has dual functions for reaction, (i) recognition of gamma (delta)-carboxyl group of Glu (AAA) and (ii) rearrangement of alpha2 helix by changing the interacting partners to place the hydrophobic substrate at the suitable position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Aminoadipate Transaminase / chemistry
  • 2-Aminoadipate Transaminase / genetics
  • 2-Aminoadipate Transaminase / metabolism*
  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid / chemistry
  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid / metabolism
  • Arginine / chemistry
  • Arginine / genetics
  • Arginine / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Glutamates / chemistry
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Pyridines / chemistry
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / chemistry
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate / metabolism
  • Serine / chemistry
  • Serine / genetics
  • Serine / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Thermus thermophilus / enzymology*


  • Glutamates
  • N-(5'-phosphopyridoxyl)-glutamate
  • N-phosphopyridoxyl-alpha-aminoadipate
  • Pyridines
  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid
  • Serine
  • Pyridoxal Phosphate
  • Arginine
  • 2-Aminoadipate Transaminase