Identification of bound pyruvate essential for the activity of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase of Escherichia coli

J Biol Chem. 1978 Jan 25;253(2):479-83.


Phosphatidylserine decarboxylase, an intrinsic membrane protein of Escherichia coli, catalyzes the decarboxylation of phosphatidylserine, the final step in the biosynthesis of phosphatidylethanolamine, the principal membrane lipid of this organism. The purified enzyme lacks the absorption spectrum characteristic of pyridoxal-containing enzymes, and it has now been found to contain bound pyruvate, the carbonyl function of which is essential for catalytic activity. The decarboxylase is inactivated by treatment with a number of reagents that attack carbonyl groups, including sodium borohydride. Reduction with tritiated borohydride leads to the introduction of stably bound radioactivity, which, after acid hydrolysis, has been identified as tritiated lactate by several chromatographic procedures and by treatment with lactate dehydrogenase. The enzyme resists inactivation by cyanoborohydride in the absence of substrate, but is readily inactivated by this reagent in the presence of phosphatidylserine. Under the conditions of treatment of neutral pH, cyanoborohydride does not react with carbonyl residues at an appreciable rate, but reduces imino groups much more rapidly. This finding, together with demonstrated dependence of the enzyme upon the carbonyl residue of pyruvate for activity, strongly suggests that a Schiff base is formed by addition of the amino group of phosphatidylserine to the pyruvate residue of the enzyme as an essential step in the action of the decarboxylase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Carboxy-Lyases / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Hydroxylamines / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Pyruvates*


  • Hydrazines
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Pyruvates
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • phosphatidylserine decarboxylase