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Autocatalytic activation of acetyl-CoA synthase

J Biol Inorg Chem. 2004 Mar 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Autocatalytic activation of acetyl-CoA synthase.

Maynard EL, Tan X, Lindahl PA.
Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine, MD 21205, Baltimore, USA.


Acetyl-CoA synthase (ACS identical with ACS/CODH identical with CODH/ACS) from Moorella thermoacetica catalyzes the synthesis of acetyl-CoA from CO, CoA, and a methyl group of a corrinoid-iron-sulfur protein (CoFeSP). A time lag prior to the onset of acetyl-CoA production, varying from 4 to 20 min, was observed in assay solutions lacking the low-potential electron-transfer agent methyl viologen (MV). No lag was observed when MV was included in the assay. The length of the lag depended on the concentrations of CO and ACS, with shorter lags found for higher [ACS] and sub-saturating [CO]. Lag length also depended on CoFeSP. Rate profiles of acetyl-CoA synthesis, including the lag phase, were numerically simulated assuming an autocatalytic mechanism.

A similar reaction profile was monitored by UV-vis spectrophotometry, allowing the redox status of the CoFeSP to be evaluated during this process. At early stages in the lag phase, Co(2+)FeSP reduced to Co(+)FeSP, and this was rapidly methylated to afford CH(3)-Co(3+)FeSP. During steady-state synthesis of acetyl-CoA, CoFeSP was predominately in the CH(3)-Co(3+)FeSP state. As the synthesis rate declined and eventually ceased, the Co(+) FeSP state predominated.

Three activation reductive reactions may be involved, including reduction of the A- and C-clusters within ACS and the reduction of the cobamide of CoFeSP. The B-, C-, and D-clusters in the beta subunit appear to be electronically isolated from the A-cluster in the connected alpha subunit, consistent with the ~70 A distance separating these clusters, suggesting the need for an in vivo reductant that activates ACS and/or CoFeSP.
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