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Human mitochondrial and cytosolic branched-chain aminotransferases are cysteine S-conjugate ?-lyases, but turnover leads to inactivation

Cooper, A. J L; Bruschi, Sam A.; Conway, Myra; Hutson, Susan M.


A. J L Cooper

Sam A. Bruschi

Myra Conway
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS DAS

Susan M. Hutson


The mitochondrial and cytosolic branched-chain aminotransferases (BCATm and BCATc) are homodimers in the fold type IV class of pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-containing enzymes that also contains D-amino acid aminotransferase and 4-amino-4-deoxychorismate lyase (a β-lyase). Recombinant human BCATm and BCATc were shown to have β-lyase activity toward three toxic cysteine S-conjugates [S-(1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethyl)-L-cysteine, S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)-L-cysteine, and S-(2-chloro-1,1,2-trifluoroethyl)-L-cysteine] and toward β-chloro-L-alanine. Human BCATm is a much more effective β-chloro-L-alanine β-lyase than two aminotransferases (cytosolic and mitochondrial isozymes of aspartate aminotransferase) previously shown to possess this activity. BCATm, but not BCATc, also exhibits measurable β-lyase activity toward a relatively bulky cysteine S-conjugate [benzothiazolyl-L-cysteine]. Benzothiazolyl-L-cysteine, however, inhibits the L-leucine-α-ketoglutarate transamination reaction catalyzed by both enzymes. Inhibition was more pronounced with BCATm. In the presence of β-lyase substrates and α-ketoisocaproate (the α-keto acid analogue of leucine), no transamination could be detected. Therefore, with an amino acid containing a good leaving group in the β position, β-elimination is greatly preferred over transamination. Both BCAT isozymes are rapidly inactivated by the β-lyase substrates. The ratio of turnover to inactivation per monomer in the presence of toxic halogenated cysteine S-conjugates is ∼170-280 for BCATm and ∼40-50 for BCATc. Mitochondrial enzymes of energy metabolism are especially vulnerable to thioacylation and inactivation by the reactive fragment released from toxic, halogenated cysteine S-conjugates such as S-(1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethyl)-L-cysteine. The present results suggest that BCAT isozymes may contribute to the mitochondrial toxicity of these compounds by providing thioacylating fragments, but inactivation of the BCAT isozymes might also block essential metabolic pathways. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.


Cooper, A. J. L., Cooper, A., Bruschi, S. A., Conway, M., & Hutson, S. M. (2003). Human mitochondrial and cytosolic branched-chain aminotransferases are cysteine S-conjugate ?-lyases, but turnover leads to inactivation. Biochemical Pharmacology, 65(2), 181-192.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 15, 2003
Journal Biochemical Pharmacology
Print ISSN 0006-2952
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 2
Pages 181-192
Keywords aminotransferases
Public URL
Publisher URL