Characterization of intra- and inter-species hybrid tetramers of pyruvate carboxylase: Biotin and the BCCP domain play a crucial role in determination of the kinetics and thermodynamics of catalysis

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2020 Nov 30:695:108630. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2020 Oct 17.


The formation, kinetics and thermodynamic activation parameters of hybrid tetramers of pyruvate carboxylase (PC) formed between wild-type Rhizobium etli pyruvate carboxylase (WTRePC) and mutant forms of this enzyme, as well as between Aspergillus nidulans PC and mutant forms of RePC have been characterized in a previous study. In this current work, we aim to extend the previous study by forming hybrid tetramers between WTRePC or chicken liver PC (CLPC) with single or double mutant RePCs. By forming hybrid tetramers between WTRePC with either K1119A or ΔBCCP RePC, the biotin moiety and BCCP (biotin carboxyl carrier protein) domain appear to play a crucial role in determination of thermodynamic activation parameters, especially the activation entropy, and the order of tetrameric structure. Using E218A:K1119A hybrid tetramers, an alternative pathway of biotin carboxylation occurred only in the absence of acetyl CoA. In this pathway, the biotin of the E218A subunits is carboxylated in the BC domain of the K1119A subunits, since the E218A mutation destroys the catalytic activity of the BC domain. Transfer of the carboxyl group to pyruvate could then occur in the CT domain of either E218A or K1119A. Part of the reduction of activity in hybrid tetramers of WTRePC and double mutant, E218A.K1119A could result from the loss of this pathway. Previously, D1018A mutant RePC homotetramers exhibited a 12-fold increase in the rate constant for catalysis in the absence of acetyl CoA. This was taken to indicate that inter-residue interactions involving D1018 inhibit the interconversion between the symmetrical and asymmetrical forms of the tetramer in the absence of acetyl CoA. The mutation, D1018A, in hybrid tetramers of WTRePC:D1018A.K1119A (D1018A.K1119A is a double mutant form of RePC) had no such effect on the rate constant, suggesting that in hybrid tetramers obligatory oscillation between asymmetrical and symmetrical conformers of the tetramer is not required to drive the catalytic cycle. Finally, K1119A or E218A RePC mutant can form hybrid tetramers with PC subunits from an evolutionarily distant species, chicken, that have stability characteristics that lie between those of the homotetramers of the two enzymes. This work provides insights into the how the PC tetramer functions to perform catalysis and is regulated by acetyl CoA. The ability to form hybrid tetrameric PCs composed of PC subunits from widely varying species that have a mixture of characteristics of the two source enzymes may also provide ways of developing novel PCs for biotechnological purposes.

Keywords: Activation thermodynamics; Allosteric activation; Hybrid tetramer; Pyruvate carboxylase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspergillus nidulans* / enzymology
  • Aspergillus nidulans* / genetics
  • Avian Proteins / chemistry*
  • Avian Proteins / genetics
  • Avian Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biotin / chemistry*
  • Biotin / genetics
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Catalysis
  • Chickens*
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Protein Domains
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase / chemistry*
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase / genetics
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Rhizobium etli* / enzymology
  • Rhizobium etli* / genetics


  • Avian Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Biotin
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase