Structure-Function Studies On Triosephoshate Isomerase From Plasmodium falciparum And Methanocaldococcus jannaschii
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This thesis describes studies directed towards understanding structure-function relationships of triosephosphate isomerase (TIM), from a protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum and a thermophilic archaea Methanocaldococcus jannaschii. Triosephosphate isomerase, a ubiquitous glycolytic enzyme, has been the subject of biochemical, enzymatic and structural studies for the last five decades. Studies on TIM have been central to the development of mechanistic enzymology. The present study investigates the role of specific residues in the structure and function of Plasmodium falciparum triosephosphate isomerase (PfTIM). The structure and stability of a tetrameric triosephosphate isomerase from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (MjTIM) is also presented. Chapter 1 provides a general introduction to the glycolytic enzyme triosephosphate isomerase, conservation of TIM sequences, its fold and three dimensional organization. The isomerisation reaction interconverting dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde 3phosphate catalyzed by triosephosphate isomerase is an example of a highly stereospecific proton transfer process (Hall & Knowles, 1975; Rieder & Rose, 1959). This chapter briefly reviews mechanistic features and discusses the role of active site residues and the functional flexible loop 6. Triosephosphate isomerase adopts the widely occurring ( β/ α)8 barrel fold and mostly occurs as a dimer (Banner et al., 1975). Protein engineering studies, related to folding, stability and design of monomeric TIM are also addressed. A brief introduction to thermophilic TIMs and higher oligomeric TIMs is given. The role of this enzyme in disease states like hemolytic anemia and neuromuscular dysfunction is surveyed. The production of methylglyoxal, a toxic metabolite, as a byproduct of the TIM reaction is also considered. Many proteins utilize segmental motions to catalyze a specific reaction. The omega loop (loop 6) of triosephosphate isomerase is important for preventing the ene-diol intermediate from forming the cytotoxic byproduct, methylglyoxal. The active site loop-6 of triosephosphate isomerase moves about 7Ǻ on ligand binding. It exhibits a hinged lid motion alternating between two well defined, “open” and “closed”, conformations (Joseph et al., 1990). Though the movement of loop 6 is not ligand gated, in crystals the ligand bound forms invariably reveal a closed loop conformation. Plasmodium falciparum TIM is an exception which predominantly exhibits “open” loop conformations, even in the ligand bound state (Parthasarathy et al., 2002). Phe 96 is a key residue that is involved in contacts between the flexible loop-6 and the protein body in PfTIM. Notably, in all TIM sequences determined thus far, with the exception of plasmodial sequences, this residue is Ser 96. In Chapter 2 the mutants F96S, F96H and F96W are reported. The crystal structures of the mutant enzymes with or without bound ligand are described. In all the ligand free cases, loop-6 adopts an “open” conformation. Kinetic parameters for all the mutants establish that residue 96 does not play an essential role in modulating the loop conformation but may be important for ligand binding. Structural analysis of the mutants along with WT enzyme reveals the presence of a water network which can modulate ligand binding. Subunit interfaces of oligomeric proteins provide an opportunity to understand protein- protein interactions. Chapter 3 describes biochemical and biophysical studies on two separate dimer-interface destabilizing mutants C13E and W11F/W168F/Y74W of PfTIM. The intention was to generate a stable monomer by disrupting the interaction hubs. C13 is a part of a large hydrophobic patch (Maithal et al., 2002a) at the dimer interface. Introduction of a negative charge at position 13 destabilizes the interface and reduces activity. Y74 is a part of an aromatic cluster of the interface (Maithal et al., 2002b). The Y74W triple mutant was designed to disrupt the aromatic cluster by introducing additional atoms. Tryptophan is also a fluorophore, allowing studies of the dimer disruption by fluorescence, after mutating the two inherent tryptophan residues, W11 and W168 to phenylalanine. The mutants showed reduced activity and were more sensitive than the wild type enzyme to chemical denaturants as well as thermal denaturation. Evidenced for monomer formation is presented. These studies together with previous work reveal that the interface is important for both activity and stability. In order to develop a model for understanding the relationship between protein stabilization and oligomeric status, characterization of the TIM from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (MjTIM) has been undertaken. Chapter 4 describes the purification and characterization of MjTIM. The MjTIM gene was cloned and expressed in pTrc99A and protein was isolated from AA200 E. coli cells. Hyperexpressed protein was purified to homogeneity and relevant kinetic parameters have been determined. The tetrameric nature of MjTIM is established by gel filtration studies. Circular dichroism (CD) studies establish the stability of the overall fold, even at temperatures as high as 95ºC. A surprising loss of enzyme activity upon prolonged incubation at high temperature was observed. ESI-MS studies establish that oxidation of thiol groups of the protein may be responsible for the thermal inactivation. Chapter 5 describes the molecular structure of MjTIM, determined in collaboration with Prof. MRN Murthy’s group at the Indian Institute of Science (Gayathri et al., 2007). The crystal structure of the recombinant triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) from the archaeabacteria Methanocaldococcus jannaschii has been determined at a resolution of 2.3 Å. MjTIM is tetrameric, as suggested by solution studies and from the crystal structure, as in the case of two other structurally characterised archaeal TIMs. The archaeabacterial TIMs are shorter compared to the dimeric TIMs, with the insertions in the dimeric TIMs occurring in the vicinity of the putative tetramer interface, resulting in a hindrance to tetramerization in the dimeric TIMs. The charge distribution on the surface of archaeal TIMs also facilitates tetramerization. Analysis of the barrel interactions in TIMs suggests that these interactions are unlikely to account for the thermal stability of archaeal TIMs. A feature of the unliganded structure of MjTIM is the complete absence of electron density for the loop 6 residues. The disorder of the loop may be ascribed to a missing salt bridge between residues at the N- and C- terminal ends of the loop in MjTIM. Chapter 6 is a follow up of an interesting observation made by Vogel and Chmielewski (1994), who noticed that subtilisin cleaved rabbit muscle triosephosphate isomerase religated spontaneously upon addition of organic solvents. Further extension of this nicking and religation process with PfTIM emphasizes the importance of tertiary interactions in contributing to the stability of the (β/α)8 barrel folds (Ray et al., 1999). This chapter establishes that subtilisin nicking and religation is also facile in thermophilic MjTIM. Fragments generated by subtilisin nicking were identified using MALDI mass spectrometry at early and late stages of the cleavage for both the dimeric PfTIM and tetrameric MjTIM. This chapter also describes the comparative thermal and denaturant stability of both the enzymes. The accessibility of the Cys residues of MjTIM has been probed by examining the rates of labeling of thiol groups by iodoacetamide. The differential labeling of Cys residues has been demonstrated by mass spectrometry. Chapter 7 summarizes the main results and conclusions of the studies described in this thesis.