Glycinamide ribonucleotide transformylase undergoes pH-dependent dimerization. Academic Article uri icon


  • Glycinamide ribonucleotide transformylase (GART) exhibits closely packed dimers in all crystal forms (pH 6.75), but was demonstrated to be monomeric in solution under conditions of optimal catalytic efficiency (pH 7.5). We undertook a study of the pH-dependent behavior of GART in solution to determine whether side-chain ionization is responsible for the observed difference in association state. In the pH range 6.8 to 7.5, dimeric GART reversibly dissociates into a monomeric form as demonstrated by dynamic light scattering. The data give a best fit to a cooperative three-proton transfer mechanism: [formula: see text] A comparison of normalized data obtained from difference UV-absorption spectroscopy with the dynamic light scattering data indicates that two or more tyrosine residues per monomer undergo a local conformational change concomitant with dimerization. Fluorescence studies show that the environment of one or both of the tryptophan residues distal to the dimer interface are also perturbed by dimerization. Fitting of the normalized titration curves yields an apparent pKa = 7.16(+/-0.02) and a subnanomolar KD for the transition. Examination of the dimer interface in the crystal structure indicates that there are two histidine residues, H54 and H73, that are likely responsible for the pH-dependent dimerization. There are also two tyrosine residues, Y67 and Y78, which are adjacent to the interface and which may be exposed during dimerization. Our study indicates that under physiological pH conditions, GART exists as a mixture of monomer and dimer in solution. Taken together, the fact that the monomer-dimer transition displays a sharp pH dependence, and the fact that the enzyme activity is maximal under conditions where it is fully monomeric, suggest that enzyme activity may be modulated by subtle pH changes in the cell.

published proceedings

  • J Mol Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Mullen, C. A., & Jennings, P. A.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Mullen, CA||Jennings, PA

publication date

  • October 1996