Allosteric effects of carbamoyl phosphate synthetase from Escherichia coli are entropy-driven. Academic Article uri icon


  • When catalyzing the formation of MgATP and carbamate from MgADP and carbamoyl phosphate, Escherichia coli carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPS) binds MgADP with a large negative change in heat capacity. The magnitude of this heat capacity change is not appreciably altered by the presence of a saturating concentration of either the allosteric activator ornithine or the inhibitor UMP despite the substantial and opposing effects these ligands have on the binding affinity for MgADP. By contrast, no detectable change in heat capacity is associated with the thermodynamic coupling between MgADP and either ornithine or UMP. The sign of the apparently constant enthalpic and entropic contributions to the coupling free energy for each of these ligands is opposite that of the coupling free energy, indicating that the observed allosteric phenomenology is in net opposed by the enthalpy of the interaction and instead arises from a change in entropy of the system. IMP produces only a very small allosteric effect as indicated by a near-zero value for the MgADP-IMP coupling free energy. However, the enthalpic and entropic contributions are individually larger in absolute value for the IMP coupling than for those pertaining to the other allosteric ligands, and entropy dominates the coupling free energy above 36 degrees C, causing IMP to become an activator at high temperature. In addition, the sign of the coupling enthalpy and entropy for IMP has the same sign as the coupling enthalpy and entropy produced by ornithine, suggesting that IMP and ornithine may similarly influence the enzyme at a molecular level despite binding to different allosteric sites on the enzyme. The data are consistent with a model in which the actions of the allosteric ligands arise primarily from changes in the conformational degeneracy introduced by each ligand. With this model, one can also rationalize the failure of these allosteric ligands to substantially influence kcat.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Braxton, B. L., Mullins, L. S., Raushel, F. M., & Reinhart, G. D.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Braxton, BL||Mullins, LS||Raushel, FM||Reinhart, GD

publication date

  • September 1996