At least one arginine residue is essential for substrate binding in or near the active sites of propionyl CoA carboxylase (PCC) and beta-methylcrotonyl CoA carboxylase (beta MCC) in cultured human fibroblasts. This conclusion is based on studies of enzyme inhibition by phenylglyoxal, a reagent which specifically modifies arginine residues. Human fibroblast PCC both in extracts and in a 20-fold purified preparation was nearly completely protected from phenylglyoxal inhibition following incubation with propionyl CoA or ATP. It appears that a phosphate group from either ATP or the CoA moiety of propionyl CoA reacts with the essential arginine residue(s). beta MCC which was similarly inhibited by phenylglyoxal was protected by beta-methylcrotonyl CoA and ATP. Thus phenylglyoxal may be used to label specific arginine residues within the active sites of previously sequenced carboxylases.
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