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    The transfer of an acetyl group from acetyl-CoA to an acceptor amine is a ubiquitous biochemical transformation catalyzed by Gcn5-related N-acetyltransferases (GNATs). Although it is established that the reaction proceeds through a sequential ordered mechanism, the role of the acetyl group in driving the ordered formation of binary and ternary complexes remains elusive. Herein, we show that CoA and acetyl-CoA alter the conformation of the substrate binding site of an arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) to facilitate interaction with acceptor substrates. However, it is the presence of the acetyl group within the catalytic funnel that triggers high affinity binding. Acetyl group occupancy is relayed through a conserved salt bridge between the P-loop and the acceptor binding site, and is manifested as differential dynamics in the CoA and acetyl-CoA-bound states. The capacity of the acetyl group carried by an acceptor to promote its tight binding even in the absence of CoA, but also its mutually exclusive position to the acetyl group of acetyl-CoA underscore its importance in coordinating the progression of the catalytic cycle.


    Adam A Aboalroub, Ashleigh B Bachman, Ziming Zhang, Dimitra Keramisanou, David J Merkler, Ioannis Gelis. Acetyl group coordinated progression through the catalytic cycle of an arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase. PloS one. 2017;12(5):e0177270

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    PMID: 28486510

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