Using 15N solid-state NMR, we have studied protonation and H-bonded states of the cofactor pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) linked as an internal aldimine in alanine racemase (AlaR), aspartate aminotransferase (AspAT), and poly-l-lysine. Protonation of the pyridine nitrogen of PLP and the coupled proton transfer from the phenolic oxygen (enolimine form) to the aldimine nitrogen (ketoenamine form) is often considered to be a prerequisite to the initial step (transimination) of the enzyme-catalyzed reaction. Indeed, using 15N NMR and H-bond correlations in AspAT, we observe a strong aspartate-pyridine nitrogen H-bond with H located on nitrogen. After hydration, this hydrogen bond is maintained. By contrast, in the case of solid lyophilized AlaR, we find that the pyridine nitrogen is neither protonated nor hydrogen bonded to the proximal arginine side chain. However, hydration establishes a weak hydrogen bond to pyridine. To clarify how AlaR is activated, we performed 13C and 15N solid-state NMR experiments on isotopically labeled PLP aldimines formed by lyophilization with poly-l-lysine. In the dry solid, only the enolimine tautomer is observed. However, a fast reversible proton transfer involving the ketoenamine tautomer is observed after treatment with either gaseous water or gaseous dry HCl. Hydrolysis requires the action of both water and HCl. The formation of an external aldimine with aspartic acid at pH 9 also produces the ketoenamine form stabilized by interaction with a second aspartic acid, probably via a H-bond to the phenolic oxygen. We postulate that O-protonation is an effectual mechanism for the activation of PLP, as is N-protonation, and that enzymes that are incapable of N-protonation employ this mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry