Mechanism-based inhibition of enzyme I of the Escherichia coli phosphotransferase system. Cysteine 502 is an essential residue
García-Alles LF., Flükiger K., Hewel J., Gutknecht R., Siebold C., Schürch S., Erni B.
Four phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) derivatives, carrying reactive or activable chemical functions in each of the three chemical regions of PEP, were assayed as alternative substrates of enzyme I (EI) of the Escherichia coli PEP:glucose phosphotransferase system. The Z- and E-isomers of 3-chlorophosphoenolpyruvate (3-Cl-PEP) were substrates, presenting Km values of 0.08 and 0.12 mM, respectively, very similar to the Km of 0.14 mM measured for PEP, and kcat of 40 and 4 min-1, compared with 2,200 min-1, for PEP. The low catalytic efficiency of these substrates permits the study of activity at in vivo EI concentrations. Z-Cl-PEP was a competitive inhibitor of PEP with a KI of 0.4 mM. E-Cl-PEP was not an inhibitor. Compounds 3 and 4, obtained by modification of the carboxylic and phosphate groups of PEP, were neither substrates nor inhibitors of EI, highlighting the importance of these functionalities for recognition by EI. Z-Cl-PEP is a suicide inhibitor. About 10-50 turnovers sufficed to inactivate EI completely. Such a property can be exploited to reveal and quantitate phosphoryl transfer from EI to other proteins at in vivo concentrations. Inactivation was saturatable in Z-Cl-PEP, with an apparent Kminact of 0.2-0.4 mM. The rate of inactivation increased with the concentration of EI, indicating a preferential or exclusive reaction with the dimeric form of EI. E-Cl-PEP inactivates EI much more slowly, and unlike PEP, it did not protect against inactivation by Z-Cl-PEP. This and the ineffectiveness of E-Cl-PEP as a competitive inhibitor have been related to the presence of two EI active species. Cys-502 of EI was identified by mass spectrometry as the reacting residue. The C502A EI mutant showed less than 0.06% wild-type activity. Sequence alignments and comparisons of x-ray structures of different PEP-utilizing enzymes indicate that Cys-502 might serve as a proton donor during catalysis.