Lablog4-54:Conformational Dynamics Contribute to Substrate Selectivity and Catalysis in Human Kynureninase

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Christos S Karamitros, Kyle Murray, Yusuke Sugiyama, Yoichi Kumada, Kenneth A Johnson, George Georgiou, Sheena D’Arcy, Everett M Stone

First author

Christos S Karamitros

Corresponding author

Everett M Stone

Publication Style

Journal name ACS chemical biology


Volume, issue, pages

15(12) 3159-3166


Kynureninases (KYNases) are enzymes that play a key role in tryptophan catabolism through the degradation of intermediate kynurenine and 3′-hydroxy-kynurenine metabolites (KYN and OH-KYN, respectively). Bacterial KYNases exhibit high catalytic efficiency toward KYN and moderate activity toward OH-KYN, whereas animal KYNases are highly selective for OH-KYN, exhibiting only minimal activity toward the smaller KYN substrate. These differences reflect divergent pathways for KYN and OH-KYN utilization in the respective kingdoms. We examined the Homo sapiens and Pseudomonas fluorescens KYNases (HsKYNase and PfKYNase respectively) using pre-steady-state and hydrogen–deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) methodologies. We discovered that the activity of HsKYNase critically depends on formation of hydrogen bonds with the hydroxyl group of OH-KYN to stabilize the entire active site and allow productive substrate turnover. With the preferred OH-KYN substrate, stabilization is observed at the substrate-binding site and the region surrounding the PLP cofactor. With the nonpreferred KYN substrate, less stabilization occurs, revealing a direct correlation with activity. This correlation holds true for PfKYNases; however there is only a modest stabilization at the substrate-binding site, suggesting that substrate discrimination is simply achieved by steric hindrance. We speculate that eukaryotic KYNases use dynamic mobility as a mechanism of substrate specificity to commit OH-KYN to nicotinamide synthesis and avoid futile hydrolysis of KYN. These findings have important ramifications for the engineering of HsKynase with high KYN activity as required for clinical applications in cancer immunotherapy. Our study shows how homologous enzymes with conserved active sites can use dynamics to discriminate between two highly similar substrates.