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1.  Type II hyperprolinemia. Delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase deficiency in cultured skin fibroblasts and circulating lymphocytes. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1976;58(3):598-603.
Type II hyperprolinemia is an inherited abnormality in amino acid metabolism characterized by elevated plasma proline concentrations, iminoglycinuria, and the urinary excretion of delta1-pyrroline compounds. To define the enzymologic defect of this biochemical disorder, we developed a specific, sensitive radioisotopic assay for the proline degradative enzyme delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase. Using this assay, we have shown an absence of delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase activity in the cultured fibroblasts from three patients with type II hyperprolinemia. We confirmed this result on cultured cells by demonstrating a similar absence of delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase activity in extracts prepared from the peripheral leukocytes of these patients. Additionally, we found significantly decreased levels of delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase activity in the leukocyte extracts from five obligate heterozygotes for type II hyperprolinemia. We also demonstrated a reduction in leukocyte delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase activity in three successive generations of a family. These results prove that an absence of delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid dehydrogenase is the enzymologic defect in type II hyperprolinemia and that this defect is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion.
PMCID: PMC333218  PMID: 956388
2.  Subcellular compartmentation in control of converging pathways for proline and arginine metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1981;145(3):1359-1364.
Enzymes of proline biosynthesis and proline degradation which act on the same compound, delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate, are physically separated in yeast cells. The enzyme responsible for the final step in proline biosynthesis, pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to proline and is located in the cytoplasm. The last enzyme in the proline degradative pathway, pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to glutamate and is found in the particulate fraction of the cell, presumably in the mitochondrion. By subcellular compartmentation, yeast cells avoid futile cycling between proline and pyrroline-5-carboxylate.
PMCID: PMC217140  PMID: 7009582
3.  A Conserved Active Site Tyrosine Residue of Proline Dehydrogenase Helps Enforce the Preference for Proline over Hydroxyproline as the Substrate†,‡ 
Biochemistry  2009;48(5):951-959.
Proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) catalyzes the oxidation of L-proline to Delta-1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate. PRODHs exhibit a pronounced preference for proline over hydroxyproline (trans-4-hydroxy-L-proline) as the substrate, but the basis for specificity is unknown. The goal of this study, therefore, is to gain insights into the structural determinants of substrate specificity of this class of enzyme, with a focus on understanding how PRODHs discriminate between the two closely related molecules, proline and hydroxyproline. Two site-directed mutants of the PRODH domain of Escherichia coli PutA were created: Y540A and Y540S. Kinetics measurements were performed with both mutants. Crystal structures of Y540S complexed with hydroxyproline, proline, and the proline analog L-tetrahydro-2-furoic acid were determined at resolutions of 1.75 Å, 1.90 Å and 1.85 Å. Mutation of Tyr540 increases the catalytic efficiency for hydroxyproline three-fold and decreases the specificity for proline by factors of twenty (Y540S) and fifty (Y540A). The structures show that removal of the large phenol side chain increases the volume of the substrate-binding pocket, allowing sufficient room for the 4-hydroxyl of hydroxyproline. Furthermore, the introduced serine residue participates in recognition of hydroxyproline by forming a hydrogen bond with the 4-hydroxyl. This result has implications for understanding substrate specificity of the related enzyme human hydroxyproline dehydrogenase, which has serine in place of tyrosine at this key active site position. The kinetic and structural results suggest that Tyr540 is an important determinant of specificity. Structurally, it serves as a negative filter for hydroxyproline by clashing with the 4-hydroxyl group of this potential substrate.
PMCID: PMC2665022  PMID: 19140736
Journal of Bacteriology  1964;87(6):1462-1470.
Ling, Chung-Mei (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago), and L. R. Hedrick. Proline oxidases in Hansenula subpelliculosa. J. Bacteriol. 87:1462–1470. 1964—Cells of Hansenula subpelliculosa can use l-proline as a carbon and a nitrogen source after a 6- to 8-hr induction period. However, they cannot use l-glutamate as both nitrogen and carbon sources unless the induction period is of several days' duration. Two l-proline oxidases were demonstrated in the mitochondrial preparation of this yeast. One forms the product Δ′-pyrroline-2-carboxylic acid (P2C), which is in equilibrium with α-keto-δ-amino-valeric acid; the other forms the product Δ′-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid (P5C), which is in equilibrium with glutamic-γ-semialdehyde. The first-mentioned enzyme is induced when l-proline is the carbon source; the second appears to be constitutive, and is probably associated with the use of l-proline as a nitrogen source. The P2C-forming enzyme is specific for the l isomer of proline, and is inactive against l-hydroxyproline. The enzyme activity is at its peak when the mitochondria are prepared from logarithmically grown cells, and is rapidly reduced after cells reach the stationary phase of growth. Kinetic studies with varying concentrations of substrate indicate a Michaelis-Menten constant of 2.45 × 10−2m. Paper chromatographic studies, chemical tests with H2O2, sensitivity to freezing, and spectral measurements indicate that proline oxidase from H. subpelliculosa mitochondria forms a product from l-proline which is like, if not identical to, P2C formed by the action of sheep kidney d-proline oxidase upon dl-proline. The soluble portion of the cell extract contains NAD+ enzymes which use either P2C (α-keto-δ-amino-valeric acid) or P5C (glutamic-γ-semialdehyde) as substrates. No glutamic dehydrogenase activity could be detected when l-glutamic acid and the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) cofactor were added to the supernatant solution with the yeast enzymes. The presence of a dehydrogenase NAD+ enzyme for activity with P2C (α-keto-δ-amino-valeric acid) has not been previously reported.
PMCID: PMC277226  PMID: 14188729
5.  Structural Determinants of Oligomerization of !1-Pyrroline-5-Carboxylate Dehydrogenase: Identification of a Hexamerization Hot Spot 
Journal of molecular biology  2013;425(17):3106-3120.
The aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) superfamily member !1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (P5CDH) catalyzes the NAD+-dependent oxidation of glutamate semialdehyde to glutamate, which is the final step of proline catabolism. Defects in P5CDH activity lead to the metabolic disorder type II hyperprolinemia, P5CDH is essential for virulence of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, and bacterial P5CDHs have been targeted for vaccine development. Although the enzyme oligomeric state is known to be important for ALDH function, the oligomerization of P5CDH has remained relatively unstudied. Here we determine the oligomeric states and quaternary structures of four bacterial P5CDHs using a combination of small-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray crystallography, and dynamic light scattering. The P5CDHs from Thermus thermophilus and Deinococcus radiodurans form trimer-of-dimers hexamers in solution, which is the first observation of a hexameric ALDH in solution. In contrast, two Bacillus P5CDHs form dimers in solution but do not assemble into a higher order oligomer. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to identify a hexamerization hot spot that is centered on an arginine residue in the NAD+-binding domain. Mutation of this critical Arg residue to Ala in either of the hexameric enzymes prevents hexamer formation in solution. Paradoxically, the dimeric Arg-to-Ala T. thermophilus mutant enzyme packs as a hexamer in the crystal state, which illustrates the challenges associated with predicting the biological assembly in solution from crystal structures. The observation of different oligomeric states among P5CDHs suggests potential differences in cooperativity and protein-protein interactions.
PMCID: PMC3743950  PMID: 23747974
proline catabolism; aldehyde dehydrogenase; small-angle X-ray scattering; X-ray crystallography
6.  Reactions Involved in the Conversion of Ornithine to Proline in Clostridia1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1969;100(2):662-667.
An enzyme system which converts ornithine to proline was partially purified from extracts of cells of Clostridium botulinum and of Clostridium PA 3670 by fractionation with ammonium sulfate and by dialysis in the presence of 0.01 m ornithine. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) was the only cofactor required for maximal activity of the partially purified system. A possible intermediate in the conversion was accumulated when a high concentration of proline was used as substrate and the NAD was maintained in the oxidized state by adding lactic dehydrogenase. Small but significant amounts of this or a similar compound were trapped with either ornithine or proline as substrate when o-aminobenzaldehyde was added to reaction mixtures. The accumulation of the o-aminobenzaldehyde reaction product was NAD-dependent with both substrates. The compound accumulated from proline was identified as Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid on the basis of the melting point of the 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazone, and by paper chromatography of the reaction product formed with o-aminobenzaldehyde. Also, extracts of C. botulinum cells oxidized reduced NAD (NADH) in the presence of the product from proline or in the presence of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid, but did not do so in the presence of the other possible intermediate, Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxylic acid. 14C-Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid was reduced to 14C-proline by these extracts in the presence of NADH. These data indicate that the conversion of ornithine to proline by C. botulinum and Clostridium PA 3679 cells involves an oxidation of ornithine to glutamic-γ-semialdehyde which undergoes ring closure to Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid. The latter compound is then reduced to proline.
PMCID: PMC250141  PMID: 4311194
7.  Biochemical and clinical features of hereditary hyperprolinemia 
Pediatrics International  2014;56(4):492-496.
There are two classifications of hereditary hyperprolinemia: type I (HPI) and type II (HPII). Each type is caused by an autosomal recessive inborn error of the proline metabolic pathway. HPI is caused by an abnormality in the proline-oxidizing enzyme (POX). HPII is caused by a deficiency of Δ-1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) dehydrogenase (P5CDh). The clinical features of HPI are unclear. Nephropathy, uncontrolled seizures, mental retardation or schizophrenia have been reported in HPI, but a benign phenotype without neurological problems has also been reported. The clinical features of HPII are also unclear. In addition, the precise incidences of HPI and HPII are unknown. Only two cases of HPI and one case of HPII have been identified in Japan through a questionnaire survey and by a study of previous reports. This suggests that hyperprolinemia is a very rare disease in Japan, consistent with earlier reports in Western countries. The one case of HPII found in Japan was diagnosed in an individual with influenza-associated encephalopathy. This suggests that HPII might reduce the threshold for convulsions, thereby increasing the sensitivity of individuals with influenza-associated encephalopathy. The current study presents diagnostic criteria for HPI and HPII, based on plasma proline level, with or without measurements of urinary P5C. In the future, screening for HPI and HPII in healthy individuals, or patients with relatively common diseases such as developmental disabilities, epilepsy, schizophrenia or behavioral problems will be important.
PMCID: PMC4282441  PMID: 24931297
hyperprolinemia type I; hyperprolinemia type II; inborn error of metabolism; P5C; proline
8.  Gene Dosage Effect of l-Proline Biosynthetic Enzymes on l-Proline Accumulation and Freeze Tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2003;69(11):6527-6532.
We have previously reported that l-proline has cryoprotective activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A freeze-tolerant mutant with l-proline accumulation was recently shown to carry an allele of the PRO1 gene encoding γ-glutamyl kinase, which resulted in a single amino acid substitution (Asp154Asn). Interestingly, this mutation enhanced the activities of γ-glutamyl kinase and γ-glutamyl phosphate reductase, both of which catalyze the first two steps of l-proline synthesis and which together may form a complex in vivo. Here, we found that the Asp154Asn mutant γ-glutamyl kinase was more thermostable than the wild-type enzyme, which suggests that this mutation elevated the apparent activities of two enzymes through a stabilization of the complex. We next examined the gene dosage effect of three l-proline biosynthetic enzymes, including Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, which converts Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate into l-proline, on l-proline accumulation and freeze tolerance in a non-l-proline-utilizing strain. Overexpression of the wild-type enzymes has no influence on l-proline accumulation, which suggests that the complex is very unstable in nature. However, co-overexpression of the mutant γ-glutamyl kinase and the wild-type γ-glutamyl phosphate reductase was effective for l-proline accumulation, probably due to a stabilization of the complex. These results indicate that both enzymes, not Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, are rate-limiting enzymes in yeast cells. A high tolerance for freezing clearly correlated with higher levels of l-proline in yeast cells. Our findings also suggest that, in addition to its cryoprotective activity, intracellular l-proline could protect yeast cells from damage by oxidative stress. The approach described here provides a valuable method for breeding novel yeast strains that are tolerant of both freezing and oxidative stresses.
PMCID: PMC262311  PMID: 14602584
9.  The Three-Dimensional Structural Basis of Type II Hyperprolinemia 
Journal of Molecular Biology  2012;420(3):176-189.
Type II hyperprolinemia is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by a deficiency in Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (P5CDH, aka ALDH4A1), the aldehyde dehydrogenase that catalyzes the oxidation of glutamate semialdehyde to glutamate. Here we report the first structure of human P5CDH and investigate the impact of the hyperprolinemia-associated mutation of Ser352 to Leu on the structure and catalytic properties of the enzyme. The 2.5 Å resolution crystal structure of human P5CDH was determined using experimental phasing. Structures of the mutant enzymes S352A (2.4 Å) and S352L (2.85 Å) were determined to elucidate the structural consequences of altering Ser352. Structures of the 93%-identical mouse P5CDH complexed with sulfate ion (1.3 Å resolution), glutamate (1.5 Å), and NAD+ (1.5 Å) were determined to obtain high resolution views of the active site. Together, the structures show that Ser352 occupies a hydrophilic pocket and is connected via water-mediated hydrogen bonds to catalytic Cys348. Mutation of Ser352 to Leu is shown to abolish catalytic activity and eliminate NAD+ binding. Analysis of the S352A mutant shows that these functional defects are caused by the introduction of the nonpolar Leu352 side chain rather than the removal of the Ser352 hydroxyl. The S352L structure shows that the mutation induces a dramatic 8-Å rearrangement of the catalytic loop. Because of this conformational change, Ser349 is not positioned to interact with the aldehyde substrate, conserved Glu447 is no longer poised to bind NAD+, and Cys348 faces the wrong direction for nucleophilic attack. These structural alterations render the enzyme inactive.
PMCID: PMC3372638  PMID: 22516612
X-ray crystallography; aldehyde dehydrogenase; ALDH4A1; proline catabolism; isothermal titration calorimetry; metabolic disorders
10.  delta1-piperideine-2-carboxylate reductase of Pseudomonas putida. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1982;149(3):864-871.
Pseudomonas putida metabolizes D-lysine to delta 1-piperideine-2-carboxylate and L-pipecolate. The second step of this catabolic pathway is catalyzed by delta 1-piperideine-2-carboxylate reductase. This enzyme was isolated and purified from cells grown on DL-lysine as substrate. The enzyme was very unstable, resulting in low recovery of activity and low purity after a six-step purification procedure. The enzyme had a pH optimum of 8.0 to 8.3. The Km values for delta 1-piperideine-2-carboxylate and NADPH were 0.23 and 0.13 mM, respectively. NADPH at concentrations above 0.15 mM was inhibitory to the enzyme. Delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate, pyroglutamate, and NADH were poor substrates or coenzyme for delta 1-piperideine-2-carboxylate reductase. The enzyme reaction from delta 1-piperideine-2-carboxylate to L-pipecolate was irreversible. EDTA, sodium pyrophosphate, and dithiothreitol at concentrations of 1 mM protected the enzyme during storage. The enzyme was inhibited almost totally by Zn2+, Mn2+, Hg2+ Co2+, and p-chloromercuribenzoate at concentrations of 0.1 mM. The enzyme had a molecular weight of about 200,000. Both D-lysine and L-lysine were good inducers for the enzyme. Neither delta1-piperideine-2-carboxylate nor L-pipecolate was an effective inducer for the enzyme. P. putida cells grew on D-lysine only after a 5- to 8-h lag, which could be abolished by adding a supplement of 0.01% alpha-ketoglutarate or other readily metabolizable compounds. Such a supplement also converted the noncoordinate induction of this enzyme and pipecolate oxidase, both of the D-lysine pathway, to coordinacy. However, this effect was not observed if the enzyme pair was from different pathways of lysine metabolism in this organism (i.e., the D- and L-lysine pathways).
PMCID: PMC216472  PMID: 6801013
11.  Genetics and physiology of proline utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: enzyme induction by proline. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1979;140(2):498-503.
Proline is converted to glutamate in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae by the sequential action of two enzymes, proline oxidase and delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) dehydrogenase. The levels of these enzymes appear to be controlled by the amount of proline in the cell. The capacity to transport proline is greatest when the cell is grown on poor nitrogen sources, such as proline or urea. Mutants have been isolated which can no longer utilize proline as the sole source of nitrogen. Mutants in put1 are deficient in proline oxidase, and those in put2 lack P5C dehydrogenase. The put1 and put2 mutations are recessive, segregate 2:2 in tetrads, and appear to be unlinked to one another. Proline induces both proline oxidase and P5C dehydrogenase. The arginine-degradative pathway intersects the proline-degradative pathway at P5C. The P5C formed from the breakdown of arginine or ornithine can induce both proline-degradative enzymes by virtue of its conversion to proline.
PMCID: PMC216674  PMID: 387737
12.  Genetics and physiology of proline utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: mutation causing constitutive enzyme expression. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1979;140(2):504-507.
A mutation resulting in inducer-independent expression of the proline-degradative enzymes was isolated in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Strains carrying the mutation, put3, are partially constitutive for proline oxidase and delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase when grown on a medium lacking proline and are hyperinducible for both enzyme activities when grown on a proline-containing medium. put3 segregates as a single nuclear gene, is not linked to either of the presumed structural genes for proline oxidase and delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, and does not affect proline transport. When heterozygous in diploid strains, put3 behaves neither fully dominant nor fully recessive. Endogenous induction by proline has been eliminated as a cause of the inducer-independent enzyme expression in the put3 mutant and the mutation is believed to be in a regulatory component of the proline-degradative pathway.
PMCID: PMC216675  PMID: 387738
13.  Regulation of Arginine and Proline Catabolism in Bacillus licheniformis 
Journal of Bacteriology  1968;96(2):322-329.
The enzymes in the arginine breakdown pathway (arginase, ornithine-δ-transaminase, and Δ′-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase) were found to be present in Bacillus licheniformis cells during exponential growth on glutamate. These enzymes could be coincidentally induced by arginine or ornithine to a very high level and their synthesis could be repressed by the addition of glucose, clearly demonstrating catabolite repression control of the arginine degradative pathway. The strongest catabolite repression control of arginase occurred when cells were grown on glucose and this control decreased when cells were grown on glycerol, acetate, pyruvate, or glutamate. The proline catabolite pathway was present in B. licheniformis during exponential growth on glutamate. The proline oxidation and the Δ′-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase in this breakdown pathway were induced by l-proline to a high level. The Δ′-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase was found to be under catabolite repression control. Arginase could be induced by proline and arginine addition induced proline oxidation, suggesting a common in vivo inducer for these convergent pathways.
PMCID: PMC252301  PMID: 5674049
14.  Effect of the Proline Analogue Baikiain on Proline Metabolism in Salmonella typhimurium 
Journal of Bacteriology  1972;112(3):1134-1141.
A proline analogue, 4,5-dehydro-l-pipecolic acid (baikiain) induces the formation in Salmonella typhimurium of the two enzymes catalyzing the degradation of proline, proline oxidase and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid (P5C) dehydrogenase. The level of induction by 20 mm baikiain is about 10% of the maximum level induced by proline. Since the analogue is a substrate of proline oxidase the first enzyme of the proline catabolic pathway, the oxidation derivative rather than baikiain itself might be the actual effector. Baikiain is also an inducer of proline oxidase in Escherichia coli K-12 and E. coli W. An additional effect of this analogue on proline degradation in S. typhimurium is inhibition of P5C dehydrogenase. At a concentration of 5 × 10−4m, baikiain inhibits completely the growth of strains constitutive for proline oxidase. This inhibition, which can be overcome by proline, occurs in the presence or absence of P5C dehydrogenase activity. Three spontaneously occurring mutants resistant to baikiain were isolated from constitutive strains. All are pleiotropic-negative for the proline-degrading enzymes. The sites of these mutations are linked to the put region. Although the mechanism of toxicity has not been determined, baikiain provides a simple and direct selection for obtaining mutants unable to degrade proline. In addition, it allows selection for strains with an inducible rather than constitutive phenotype.
PMCID: PMC251541  PMID: 4565530
15.  Arginine Catabolism in the Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. Strain PCC 6803 Involves the Urea Cycle and Arginase Pathway 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(4):1008-1015.
Cells of the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 supplemented with micromolar concentrations of l-[14C]arginine took up, concentrated, and catabolized this amino acid. Metabolism of l-[14C]arginine generated a set of labeled amino acids that included argininosuccinate, citrulline, glutamate, glutamine, ornithine, and proline. Production of [14C]ornithine preceded that of [14C]citrulline, and the patterns of labeled amino acids were similar in cells incubated with l-[14C]ornithine, suggesting that the reaction of arginase, rendering ornithine and urea, is the main initial step in arginine catabolism. Ornithine followed two metabolic pathways: (i) conversion into citrulline, catalyzed by ornithine carbamoyltransferase, and then, with incorporation of aspartate, conversion into argininosuccinate, in a sort of urea cycle, and (ii) a sort of arginase pathway rendering glutamate (and glutamine) via Δ1pyrroline-5-carboxylate and proline. Consistently with the proposed metabolic scheme (i) an argF (ornithine carbamoyltransferase) insertional mutant was impaired in the production of [14C]citrulline from [14C]arginine; (ii) a proC (Δ1pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase) insertional mutant was impaired in the production of [14C]proline, [14C]glutamate, and [14C]glutamine from [14C]arginine or [14C]ornithine; and (iii) a putA (proline oxidase) insertional mutant did not produce [14C]glutamate from l-[14C]arginine, l-[14C]ornithine, or l-[14C]proline. Mutation of two open reading frames (sll0228 and sll1077) putatively encoding proteins homologous to arginase indicated, however, that none of these proteins was responsible for the arginase activity detected in this cyanobacterium, and mutation of argD (N-acetylornithine aminotransferase) suggested that this transaminase is not important in the production of Δ1pyrroline-5-carboxylate from ornithine. The metabolic pathways proposed to explain [14C]arginine catabolism also provide a rationale for understanding how nitrogen is made available to the cell after mobilization of cyanophycin [multi-l-arginyl-poly(l-aspartic acid)], a reserve material unique to cyanobacteria.
PMCID: PMC94377  PMID: 10648527
16.  Proline: an essential intermediate in arginine degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1980;143(3):1403-1410.
Results of studies on proline-nonutilizing (Put-) mutants of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae indicate that proline is an essential intermediate in the degradation of arginine. Put- mutants excreted proline when grown on arginine or ornithine as the sole nitrogen source. Yeast cells contained a single enzyme, delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) dehydrogenase, which is essential for the complete degradation of both proline and arginine. The sole inducer of this enzyme was found to be proline. P5C dehydrogenase converted P5C to glutamate, but only when the P5C was derived directly from proline. When the P5C was derived from ornithine, it was first converted to proline by the enzyme P5C reductase. Proline was then converted back to P5C and finally to glutamate by the Put enzymes proline oxidase and P5C dehydrogenase.
PMCID: PMC294521  PMID: 6997271
17.  Ornithine cyclodeaminase/μ-crystallin homolog from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus litoralis functions as a novel Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxylate reductase involved in putative trans-3-hydroxy-l-proline metabolism 
FEBS Open Bio  2014;4:617-626.
•Ornithine cyclodeaminase homolog from an archeon was characterized biochemically.•This protein functions as a novel Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxylate reductase.•This enzyme is probably involved in trans-3-hydroxy-l-proline metabolism as in bacteria and mammals.
l-Ornithine cyclodeaminase (OCD) is involved in l-proline biosynthesis and catalyzes the unique deaminating cyclization of l-ornithine to l-proline via a Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxyrate (Pyr2C) intermediate. Although this pathway functions in only a few bacteria, many archaea possess OCD-like genes (proteins), among which only AF1665 protein (gene) from Archaeoglobus fulgidus has been characterized as an NAD+-dependent l-alanine dehydrogenase (AfAlaDH). However, the physiological role of OCD-like proteins from archaea has been unclear. Recently, we revealed that Pyr2C reductase, involved in trans-3-hydroxy-l-proline (T3LHyp) metabolism of bacteria, belongs to the OCD protein superfamily and catalyzes only the reduction of Pyr2C to l-proline (no OCD activity) [FEBS Open Bio (2014) 4, 240–250]. In this study, based on bioinformatics analysis, we assumed that the OCD-like gene from Thermococcus litoralis DSM 5473 is related to T3LHyp and/or proline metabolism (TlLhpI). Interestingly, TlLhpI showed three different enzymatic activities: AlaDH; N-methyl-l-alanine dehydrogenase; Pyr2C reductase. Kinetic analysis suggested strongly that Pyr2C is the preferred substrate. In spite of their similar activity, TlLhpI had a poor phylogenetic relationship to the bacterial and mammalian reductases for Pyr2C and formed a close but distinct subfamily to AfAlaDH, indicating convergent evolution. Introduction of several specific amino acid residues for OCD and/or AfAlaDH by site-directed mutagenesis had marked effects on both AlaDH and Pyr2C reductase activities. The OCC_00387 gene, clustered with the TlLhpI gene on the genome, encoded T3LHyp dehydratase, homologous to the bacterial and mammalian enzymes. To our knowledge, this is the first report of T3LHyp metabolism from archaea.
PMCID: PMC4141209  PMID: 25161870
OCD, ornithine cyclodeaminase; CRYM, μ-crystallin; AlaDH, l-alanine dehydrogenase; Pyr2C, Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxylate; T3LHyp, trans-3-hydroxy-l-proline; NMAlaDH, N-methyl-l-alanine dehydrogenase; Ornithine cyclodeaminase; Δ1-pyrroline-2-carboxylate reductase; Molecular evolution; trans-3-Hydroxy-l-proline metabolism
18.  Proline biosynthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: analysis of the PRO3 gene, which encodes delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(11):3782-3788.
The PRO3 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes the 286-amino-acid protein delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase [L-proline:NAD(P+) 5-oxidoreductase; EC], which catalyzes the final step in proline biosynthesis. The protein has substantial similarity to the pyrroline carboxylate reductases of diverse bacterial species, soybean, and humans. Using RNA hybridization and measurements of enzyme activity, we have determined that the expression of the PRO3 gene appears to be constitutive. It is not repressed by the pathway end product (proline), induced by the initial substrate (glutamate), or regulated by the general control system. Its expression is not detectably altered when cells are grown in a wide range of nitrogen sources or when glycerol and ethanol replace glucose as the carbon source. The possibility that this enzyme has other functions in addition to proline biosynthesis is discussed.
PMCID: PMC206069  PMID: 1592829
19.  Structural Studies of Yeast Δ1-Pyrroline-5-carboxylate Dehydrogenase (ALDH4A1): Active Site Flexibility and Oligomeric State 
Biochemistry  2014;53(8):1350-1359.
The proline catabolic enzyme Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (ALDH4A1) catalyzes the NAD+-dependent oxidation of γ-glutamate semialdehyde to l-glutamate. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, ALDH4A1 is encoded by the PUT2 gene and known as Put2p. Here we report the steady-state kinetic parameters of the purified recombinant enzyme, two crystal structures of Put2p, and the determination of the oligomeric state and quaternary structure from small-angle X-ray scattering and sedimentation velocity. Using Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate as the substrate, catalytic parameters kcat and Km were determined to be 1.5 s–1 and 104 μM, respectively, with a catalytic efficiency of 14000 M–1 s–1. Although Put2p exhibits the expected aldehyde dehydrogenase superfamily fold, a large portion of the active site is disordered in the crystal structure. Electron density for the 23-residue aldehyde substrate-binding loop is absent, implying substantial conformational flexibility in solution. We furthermore report a new crystal form of human ALDH4A1 (42% identical to Put2p) that also shows disorder in this loop. The crystal structures provide evidence of multiple active site conformations in the substrate-free form of the enzyme, which is consistent with a conformational selection mechanism of substrate binding. We also show that Put2p forms a trimer-of-dimers hexamer in solution. This result is unexpected because human ALDH4A1 is dimeric, whereas some bacterial ALDH4A1s are hexameric. Thus, global sequence identity and domain of life are poor predictors of the oligomeric states of ALDH4A1. Mutation of a single Trp residue that forms knob-in-hole interactions across the dimer–dimer interface abrogates hexamer formation, suggesting that this residue is the center of a protein–protein association hot spot.
PMCID: PMC3954644  PMID: 24502590
20.  The Metabolism of Proline as Microenvironmental Stress Substrate 
The Journal of nutrition  2008;138(10):2008S-2015S.
Proline, a unique proteogenic secondary amino acid, has its own metabolic system with special features. Recent findings defining the regulation of this system led us to propose that proline is a stress substrate in the microenvironment of inflammation and tumorigenesis. The criteria for proline as a stress substrate are: 1) the enzymes utilizing proline respond to stress signaling, 2) there is a large, mobilizable pool of proline and 3) the metabolism of proline serves special stress functions. Studies show that the proline utilizing enzyme, proline oxidase/proline dehydrogenase responds to genotoxic, inflammatory and nutrient stress. Proline as substrate is stored as collagen in extracellular matrix, connective tissue and bone, and it is rapidly released from this reservoir by the sequential action of matrix metalloproteinases, peptidases and prolidase. Special functions include the use of proline by proline oxidase/proline dehydrogenase to generate superoxide radicals which initiate apoptosis by intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Under conditions of nutrient stress, proline is an energy source. It provides carbons for the tricarboxylic acid cycle and, also participates in the proline cycle. The latter, catalyzed by mitochondrial proline oxidase and cytosolic pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, shuttles reducing potential from the pentose phosphate pathway into mitochondria to generate ATP and oxidizing potential to activate the cytosolic pentose phosphate pathway.
PMCID: PMC2692276  PMID: 18806116
proline oxidase; proline dehydrogenase; PPARγ; mTOR; apoptosis; bioenergetics
21.  Proline dehydrogenase is essential for proline protection against hydrogen peroxide induced cell death 
Free radical biology & medicine  2012;53(5):1181-1191.
Proline metabolism has an underlying role in apoptotic signaling that impacts tumorigenesis. Proline is oxidized to glutamate in the mitochondria with the rate limiting step catalyzed by proline dehydrogenase (PRODH). PRODH expression is inducible by p53 leading to increased proline oxidation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, and induction of apoptosis. Paradoxical to its role in apoptosis, proline also protects cells against oxidative stress. Here we explore the mechanism of proline protection against hydrogen peroxide stress in melanoma WM35 cells. Treatment of WM35 cells with proline significantly increased cell viability, diminished oxidative damage of cellular lipids and proteins, and retained ATP and NADPH levels after exposure to hydrogen peroxide. Inhibition or siRNA-mediated knockdown of PRODH abolished proline protection against oxidative stress whereas knockdown of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, a key enzyme in proline biosynthesis, had no impact on proline protection. Potential linkages between proline metabolism and signaling pathways were explored. The combined inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTORC2 eliminated proline protection. A significant increase in Akt activation was observed in proline treated cells after hydrogen peroxide stress along with a corresponding increase in the phosphorylation of the fork head transcription factor class O3a (FoxO3a). The role of PRODH in proline mediated protection was validated in the prostate carcinoma cell line, PC3. Knockdown of PRODH in PC3 cells attenuated phosphorylated levels of Akt and FoxO3a and decreased cell survival during hydrogen peroxide stress. The results provide evidence that PRODH is essential in proline protection against hydrogen peroxide mediated cell death and that proline/PRODH helps activate Akt in cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3432146  PMID: 22796327
Proline; proline dehydrogenase; oxidative stress; pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase; Akt
22.  Oxygen Reactivity of PutA from Helicobacter Species and Proline-Linked Oxidative Stress 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(4):1227-1235.
Proline is converted to glutamate in two successive steps by the proline utilization A (PutA) flavoenzyme in gram-negative bacteria. PutA contains a proline dehydrogenase domain that catalyzes the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-dependent oxidation of proline to Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) and a P5C dehydrogenase domain that catalyzes the NAD+-dependent oxidation of P5C to glutamate. Here, we characterize PutA from Helicobacter hepaticus (PutAHh) and Helicobacter pylori (PutAHp) to provide new insights into proline metabolism in these gastrointestinal pathogens. Both PutAHh and PutAHp lack DNA binding activity, in contrast to PutA from Escherichia coli (PutAEc), which both regulates and catalyzes proline utilization. PutAHh and PutAHp display catalytic activities similar to that of PutAEc but have higher oxygen reactivity. PutAHh and PutAHp exhibit 100-fold-higher turnover numbers (∼30 min−1) than PutAEc (<0. 3 min−1) using oxygen as an electron acceptor during catalytic turnover with proline. Consistent with increased oxygen reactivity, PutAHh forms a reversible FAD-sulfite adduct. The significance of increased oxygen reactivity in PutAHh and PutAHp was probed by oxidative stress studies in E. coli. Expression of PutAEc and PutA from Bradyrhizobium japonicum, which exhibit low oxygen reactivity, does not diminish stress survival rates of E. coli cell cultures. In contrast, PutAHp and PutAHh expression dramatically reduces E. coli cell survival and is correlated with relatively lower proline levels and increased hydrogen peroxide formation. The discovery of reduced oxygen species formation by PutA suggests that proline catabolism may influence redox homeostasis in the ecological niches of these Helicobacter species.
PMCID: PMC1367249  PMID: 16452403
23.  Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase in human erythrocytes. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1981;67(4):1042-1046.
Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, which converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to proline, has been identified in human erythrocytes. The level of pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase activity in these cells is comparable to the activity levels of major erythrocyte enzymes. The physiologic function of the enzyme in erythrocytes cannot be related to its function in other tissues, i.e., producing proline for protein synthesis. We examined the kinetic properties of erythrocyte pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase and compared them to the properties of the enzyme from proliferating cultured human fibroblasts. We found that the kinetic properties and regulation of the erythrocyte enzyme are distinctly different from those for human fibroblast pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase. These characteristics are consistent with the interpretation that the function of the enzyme in human erythrocytes may be to generate oxidizing potential in the form of NADP+.
PMCID: PMC370662  PMID: 6894153
24.  Structural Biology of Proline Catabolism 
Amino acids  2008;35(4):719-730.
The proline catabolic enzymes proline dehydrogenase and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase catalyze the 4-electron oxidation of proline to glutamate. These enzymes play important roles in cellular redox control, superoxide generation, apoptosis and cancer. In some bacteria, the two enzymes are fused into the bifunctional enzyme, proline utilization A. Here we review the three-dimensional structural information that is currently available for proline catabolic enzymes. Crystal structures have been determined for bacterial monofunctional proline dehydrogenase and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, as well as the proline dehydrogenase and DNA-binding domains of proline utilization A. Some of the functional insights provided by analyses of these structures are discussed, including substrate recognition, catalytic mechanism, biochemical basis of inherited proline catabolic disorders and DNA recognition by proline utilization A.
PMCID: PMC2664619  PMID: 18369526
Proline-Catabolism; Proline metabolism; Protein structure; X-ray crystallography; Proline dehydrogenase; P5C dehydrogenase; Proline utilization A; Ribbon-helix-helix
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;282(19):14316-14327.
Proline dehydrogenase (PRODH) and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase (P5CDH) catalyze the two-step oxidation of proline to glutamate. They are distinct monofunctional enzymes in all eukaryotes and some bacteria, but are fused into bifunctional enzymes known as Proline utilization A (PutA) in other bacteria. Here we report the first structure and biochemical data for a monofunctional PRODH. The 2.0 Å resolution structure of Thermus thermophilus PRODH reveals a distorted (βα)8 barrel catalytic core domain and a hydrophobic α-helical domain located above the carboxyl terminal ends of the strands of the barrel. Although the catalytic core is similar to that of the PutA PRODH domain, the FAD conformation of T. thermophilus PRODH is remarkably different and likely reflects unique requirements for membrane association and communication with P5CDH. Also, the FAD of T. thermophilus PRODH is highly solvent exposed compared to PutA due to a 4-Å shift of helix 8. Structure-based sequence analysis of the PutA/PRODH family led us to identify 9 conserved motifs involved in cofactor and substrate recognition. Biochemical studies show that the midpoint potential of the FAD is −75 mV and the kinetic parameters for proline are Km=27 mM and kcat=13 s−1. 3,4-dehydro-L-proline was found to be an efficient substrate and L-tetrahydro-2-furoic acid is a competitive inhibitor (KI=1.0 mM). Finally, we demonstrate that T. thermophilus PRODH reacts with O2 producing superoxide. This is significant because superoxide production underlies the role of human PRODH in p53-mediated apoptosis, implying commonalities between eukaryotic and bacterial monofunctional PRODHs.
PMCID: PMC2708979  PMID: 17344208

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