The side chain cation of Arg235 provides a 5.6 and 2.6 kcal/mol stabilization of the transition states for orotidine 5′-monophosphate (OMP) decarboxylase (OMPDC) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae catalyzed reactions of OMP and 5-fluoroorotidine 5′-monophosphate (FOMP), respectively, a 7.2 kcal/mol stabilization of the vinyl carbanion-like transition state for enzyme-catalyzed exchange of the C-6 proton of 5-fluorouridine 5′-monophosphate (FUMP), but no stabilization of the transition states for enzyme-catalyzed decarboxylation of truncated substrates 1-(β-d- erythrofuranosyl)orotic acid and 1-(β-d-erythrofuranosyl) 5-fluorouracil. These observations show that the transition state stabilization results from formation of a protein cation-phosphodianion pair, and that there is no detectable stabilization from an interaction between the side chain and the pyrimidine ring of substrate. The 5.6 kcal/mol side chain interaction with the transition state for the decarboxylation reaction is 50% of the total 11.2 kcal/mol transition state stabilization by interactions with the phosphodianion of OMP, whereas the 7.2 kcal/mol side chain interaction with the transition state for the deuterium exchange reaction is a larger 78% of the total 9.2 kcal/mol transition state stabilization by interactions with the phosphodianion of FUMP. The effect of the R235A mutation on the enzyme-catalyzed deuterium exchange is expressed predominantly as a change in the turnover number k ex, whereas the effect on the enzyme-catalyzed decarboxylation of OMP is expressed predominantly as a change in the Michaelis constant Km. These results are rationalized by a mechanism in which the binding of OMP, compared with that for FUMP, provides a larger driving force for conversion of OMPDC from an inactive open conformation to a productive, active, closed conformation.
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