Biochemistry Online: An Approach Based on Chemical Logic

Biochemistry Online




Last Update:  04/11/16

Learning Goals/Objectives for Chapter 6D:  After class and this reading, students will be able to

  • draw Cleland chemical reaction diagrams showing enzyme, substrate, and product interactions for multisubstrate and multiproduct sequential and ping-pong enzyme-catalyzed reactions;
  • draw double reciprocal 1/v vs 1/A plots at different fixed B concentrations for sequential and ping-pong multisubstrate reactions;
  • draw v vs S graphs in the presence and absence of allosteric inhibitors and activators for multi-subunit enzymes that display sigmoidal cooperative behavior (K systems) conforming to the MWC model;
  • differentiate between K and V systems for allosterically regulated enzymes using the MWC model and explain shifts in graphs of v vs S in the presence of allosteric effectors

D4.  Allosteric Enzymes

Many enzymes do not demonstrate hyperbolic saturation kinetics, or typical Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Graphs of initial velocity vs substrate demonstrate sigmoidal dependency of v on S, much as we discussed with hemoglobin binding of dioxygen. Enzymes that display this non Michaelis-Menten behavior have common characteristics. They :

A classic examples of allosterically regulated enzymes includes glycogen phosphorylase which breaks down intracellular glycogen reserves.

Glycogen Phosphorylase iconProtopedia

Another is aspartate transcarbamyolase, which catalyzes the first step in the synthesis of pyrimidine nucleotides. CTP is an allosteric inhibitor of this enzyme, which makes physiological sense since high levels of this pyrimidine nucleotide should inhibit the first enzyme in the synthesis of pyrimidines. ATP is a allosteric activator. This also makes sense since if high levels of the purine nucleotide ATP are present, one would also want to balance the level of pyrimidine nucleotides.

Figure:  Aspartate transcarbamoylase: reactions

Figure:  Aspartate transcarbamoylase: Non Michaelis-Menten Kinetics

Earlier  we saw that cooperative binding equilibrium  could be modeled with the Hill Equation, which we  introduced through the equation Y = Ln/(Kd + Ln) = Ln/(P50n + Ln) where n is the cooperativity or Hill Coefficient.  Likewise, for an enzyme which demonstrates cooperative (sigmoidal) initial rates plots, 

vo = VmSn/K0.50n + Ln

When n=1, the equation reduces to the classical hyperbolic Michaelis Menten equation.  For values of n>1, sigmoidal plots are observed.  We found a more easily understandable molecular interpretation of cooperative binding of oxygen to hemoglobin using the MWC model (T and R states).  The MWC model has also been applied successfully to multi-subunit enzymes which display cooperative, sigmoidal kinetics.  In this model, allosteric inhibitors (which often don't resemble the substrate) bind preferentially to the T state, leading to  lower activity, while allosteric activators bind preferentially to the R state, leading to greater activity.  Activators shift the vo vs S curve to the left while inhibitors shift it to the right (much like protons and carbon dioxide in hemoglobin binding).  These allosteric ligands induce their effects by shifting the To <=> Ro equilibrium. 

How do allosteric effectors change Vm and Km?

We have just studied how competitive, uncompetitive, and noncompetitive (or mixed) inhibitors influence the apparent Km and Vm values for enzymes that display Michaelis-Menten kinetics.  How are Vm and Km influenced in allosteric enzymes?  The example given above (ATCase), analogous to effects observed in hemoglobin:oxgyen binding, influence the apparent Km, but not the Vm.   Remember that in the case of  hemoglobin binding curves, the allosteric activators and effectors we discussed shifted the sigmoidal binding curves to the left or right, but all reached a plateau at the same fractional saturation value of 1.  Allosteric enzyme systems that behave like this are called K systems.  Enzymes in which allosteric regulators change Vm, called V systems, are also known.   V systems display hyperbolic  vo vs S curves in which activators display a greater apparent Vm and inhibitors display a lower Vm without affecting the apparent Km.  In these systems, both the T and R forms have the same affinity for substrate (hence the same apparent Km).  This would be analogous to a situation in the MWC model where KR/KT =1 which also gave hyperbolic, not sigmoidal Y vs α curves.   This difference in V systems is that the R and T states have different catalytic rate constants, kcat, for turnover of the bound substrate (hence different apparent Vm values).  In addition, the activator A and inhibitor I bind to the R and T forms with different affinity, which again shifts the To <=> Ro equilibrium in the presence of the allosteric effectors.  

Cooperative binding of dioxygen to hemoglobin, regulated by allosteric effectors (protons and carbon dioxide), was ideal for an oxygen transport system which must load and unload oxygen over a narrow range of oxygen concentrations and allosteric effectors.  Allosteric enzymes are usually positioned at key metabolic steps which can be regulated to activate or inhibit whole pathways.  

Enzyme Regulation by Covalent Modification

Many enzymes are regulated not by allosteric ligands (activators and inhibitors), but by covalent modification.  Often the covalent modification involves phosphorylation (by enzymes called kinases which transfer a phosphate from ATP to a Ser, Thr, or Tyr on the target enzyme) or phosphatases (which remove the phosphates from phospho-Ser, Thr, or Tyr in the target protein).  In fact 1-2% of all genes in the human genome code for kinases and phosphatases.  


Return to 6D:  More Complicated Enzymes Sections

Return to Biochemistry Online Table of Contents

Archived version of full Chapter 6D:  More Complicated Enzymes


Creative Commons License
Biochemistry Online by Henry Jakubowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.