Yeast NAD+-specific isocitrate dehydrogenase is an allosterically regulated octameric enzyme composed of four each of two homologous but nonidentical subunits designated IDH1 and IDH2. Models based on the crystallographic structure of Escherichia coli isocitrate dehydrogenase suggest that both yeast subunits contain isocitrate-binding sites. Identities in nine residue positions are predicted for the IDH2 site whereas four of the nine positions differ between the IDH1 and bacterial enzyme sites. Thus, we speculate that the IDH2 site is catalytic and that the IDH1 site may bind but not catalytically alter isocitrate. This was examined by kinetic analyses of enzymes with independent and concerted replacement of residues in each yeast IDH subunit site with the residues that differ in the other subunit site. Mutant enzymes were expressed in a yeast strain containing disrupted IDH1 and IDH2 loci and affinity-purified for kinetic analyses. The primary effects of various residue replacements in IDH2 were reductions of 30->300-fold in Vmax values, consistent with the catalytic function of this subunit. In contrast, replacement of all four residues in IDH1 produced a 17-fold reduction in max under the same assay conditions, suggesting that the IDH1 site is not the primary catalytic site. However, single or multiple residue replacements in IDH1 uniformly increased half-saturation concentrations for isocitrate, implying that isocitrate can be bound at this site. Both subunits appear to contribute to cooperativity with respect to isocitrate, but AMP activation is lost only with residue replacements in IDH1. Overall, results are consistent with isocitrate binding by IDH2 for catalysis and with isocitrate binding by IDH1 being a prerequisite for allosteric activation by AMP. The effects of residue substitutions on enzyme function in vivo were assessed by analysis of various growth phenotypes. Results indicate a positive correlation between the level of IDH catalytic activity and the ability of cells to grow with acetate or glycerol as carbon sources. In addition, lower levels of activity are associated with increased production of respiratory-deficient (petite) segregants.
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