Human and Plasmodium serine hydroxymethyltransferases differ in rate-limiting steps and pH-dependent substrate inhibition behavior.Arch Biochem Biophys. 2017 09 15; 630:91-100.AB
Serine hydroxymethyltransferase (SHMT), an essential enzyme for cell growth and development, catalyzes the transfer of -CH2OH from l-serine to tetrahydrofolate (THF) to form glycine and 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate (MTHF) which is used for nucleotide synthesis. Insights into the ligand binding and inhibition properties of human cytosolic SHMT (hcSHMT) and Plasmodium SHMT (PvSHMT) are crucial for designing specific drugs against malaria and cancer. The results presented here revealed strong and pH-dependent THF inhibition of hcSHMT. In contrast, in PvSHMT, THF inhibition and the influence of pH were not as pronounced. Ligand binding experiments performed at various pH values indicated that the hcSHMT:Gly complex binds THF more tightly at lower pH conditions, while the binding affinity of the PvSHMT:Gly complex for THF is not pH-dependent. Pre-steady state kinetic (rapid-quench) analysis of hcSHMT showed burst kinetics, indicating that glycine formation occurs fastest in the first turnover relative to the subsequent turnovers i.e. glycine release is the rate-limiting step in the hcSHMT reaction. All data suggest that excess THF likely binds E:Gly binary complex and forms the E:Gly:THF dead-end complex before glycine is released. A unique flap motif found in the structure of hcSHMT may be the key structural feature that imparts these described characteristics of hcSHMT.