Divergent allosteric patterns verify the regulatory paradigm for aspartate transcarbamylase. Academic Article uri icon


  • The native Escherichia coli aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase, E.C. provides a classic allosteric model for the feedback inhibition of a biosynthetic pathway by its end products. Both E. coli and Erwinia herbicola possess ATCase holoenzymes which are dodecameric (2(c3):3(r2)) with 311 amino acid residues per catalytic monomer and 153 and 154 amino acid residues per regulatory (r) monomer, respectively. While the quaternary structures of the two enzymes are identical, the primary amino acid sequences have diverged by 14 % in the catalytic polypeptide and 20 % in the regulatory polypeptide. The amino acids proposed to be directly involved in the active site and nucleotide binding site are strictly conserved between the two enzymes; nonetheless, the two enzymes differ in their catalytic and regulatory characteristics. The E. coli enzyme has sigmoidal substrate binding with activation by ATP, and inhibition by CTP, while the E. herbicola enzyme has apparent first order kinetics at low substrate concentrations in the absence of allosteric ligands, no ATP activation and only slight CTP inhibition. In an apparently important and highly conserved characteristic, CTP and UTP impose strong synergistic inhibition on both enzymes. The co-operative binding of aspartate in the E. coli enzyme is correlated with a T-to-R conformational transition which appears to be greatly reduced in the E. herbicola enzyme, although the addition of inhibitory heterotropic ligands (CTP or CTP+UTP) re-establishes co-operative saturation kinetics. Hybrid holoenzymes assembled in vivo with catalytic subunits from E. herbicola and regulatory subunits from E. coli mimick the allosteric response of the native E. coli holoenzyme and exhibit ATP activation. The reverse hybrid, regulatory subunits from E. herbicola and catalytic subunits from E. coli, exhibited no response to ATP. The conserved structure and diverged functional characteristics of the E. herbicola enzyme provides an opportunity for a new evaluation of the common paradigm involving allosteric control of ATCase.

published proceedings

  • J Mol Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Wales, M. E., Madison, L. L., Glaser, S. S., & Wild, J. R.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Wales, ME||Madison, LL||Glaser, SS||Wild, JR

publication date

  • January 1999