Structure and Function of Non-Native Metal Clusters in Human Arginase I

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Various binuclear metal ion clusters and complexes have been reconstituted in crystalline human arginase I by removing the Mn2+2 cluster of the wild-type enzyme with metal chelators and subsequently soaking the crystalline apoenzyme in buffer solutions containing NiCl2 or ZnCl2. X-ray crystal structures of these metal ion variants are correlated with catalytic activity measurements that reveal differences resulting from metal ion substitution. Additionally, treatment of crystalline Mn2+2-human arginase I with Zn2+ reveals for the first time the structural basis for inhibition by Zn2+, which forms a carboxylate-histidine-Zn2+ triad with H141 and E277. The imidazole side chain of H141 is known to be hyper-reactive, and its chemical modification or mutagenesis is known to similarly compromise catalysis. The reactive substrate analogue 2(S)-amino-6-boronohexanoic acid (ABH) binds as a tetrahedral boronate anion to Mn2+2, Co2+2, Ni2+2, and Zn2+2 clusters in human arginase I, and it can be stabilized by a third inhibitory Zn2+ ion coordinated by H141. Because ABH binds as an analogue of the tetrahedral intermediate and its flanking transition states in catalysis, this implies that the various metallo-substituted enzymes are capable of some level of catalysis with an actual substrate. Accordingly, we establish the following trend for turnover number (kcat) and catalytic efficiency (kcat/KM): Mn2+ > Ni2+ ≈ Co2+ Zn2+. Therefore, Mn2+ is required for optimal catalysis by human arginase I.

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