Slow-Onset, Potent Inhibition of Mandelate Racemase by 2-Formylphenylboronic Acid. An Unexpected Adduct Clasps the Catalytic Machinery

Biochemistry. 2021 Aug 2. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.1c00374. Online ahead of print.


o-Carbonyl arylboronic acids such as 2-formylphenylboronic acid (2-FPBA) are employed in biocompatible conjugation reactions with the resulting iminoboronate adduct stabilized by an intramolecular N-B interaction. However, few studies have utilized these reagents as active site-directed enzyme inhibitors. We show that 2-FPBA is a potent reversible, slow-onset inhibitor of mandelate racemase (MR), an enzyme that has served as a valuable paradigm for understanding enzyme-catalyzed abstraction of an α-proton from a carbon acid substrate with a high pKa. Kinetic analysis of the progress curves for the slow onset of inhibition of wild-type MR using a two-step kinetic mechanism gave Ki and Ki* values of 5.1 ± 1.8 and 0.26 ± 0.08 μM, respectively. Hence, wild-type MR binds 2-FPBA with an affinity that exceeds that for the substrate by ∼3000-fold. K164R MR was inhibited by 2-FPBA, while K166R MR was not inhibited, indicating that Lys 166 was essential for inhibition. Unexpectedly, mass spectrometric analysis of the NaCNBH3-treated enzyme-inhibitor complex did not yield evidence of an iminoboronate adduct. 11B nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the MR·2-FPBA complex indicated that the boron atom was sp3-hybridized (δ 6.0), consistent with dative bond formation. Surprisingly, X-ray crystallography revealed the formation of an Nζ-B dative bond between Lys 166 and 2-FPBA with intramolecular cyclization to form a benzoxaborole, rather than the expected iminoboronate. Thus, when o-carbonyl arylboronic acid reagents are employed to modify proteins, the structure of the resulting product depends on the protein architecture at the site of modification.