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1.  Clustered Conserved Cysteines in Hyaluronan Synthase Mediate Cooperative Activation by Mg2+ Ions and Severe Inhibitory Effects of Divalent Cations 
Hyaluronan synthase (HAS) uses UDP-GlcUA and UDP-GlcNAc to make hyaluronan (HA). Streptococcus equisimilis HAS (SeHAS) contains four conserved cysteines clustered near the membrane, and requires phospholipids and Mg2+ for activity. Activity of membrane-bound or purified enzyme displayed a sigmoidal saturation profile for Mg2+ with a Hill coefficient of 2. To assess if Cys residues are important for cooperativity we examined the Mg2+ dependence of mutants with various combinations of Cys-to-Ala mutations. All Cys-mutants lost the cooperative response to Mg2+. In the presence of Mg2+, other divalent cations inhibited SeHAS with different potencies (Cu2+~Zn2+ >Co2+ >Ni2+ >Mn2+ >Ba2+ Sr2+ Ca2+). Some divalent metal ions likely inhibit by displacement of Mg2+-UDP-Sugar complexes (e.g. Ca2+, Sr2+ and Ba2+ had apparent Ki values of 2-5 mM). In contrast, Zn2+ and Cu2+ inhibited more potently (apparent Ki ≤ 0.2 mM). Inhibition of Cys-null SeHAS by Cu2+, but not Zn2+, was greatly attenuated compared to wildtype. Double and triple Cys-mutants showed differing sensitivities to Zn2+ or Cu2+. Wildtype SeHAS allowed to make HA prior to exposure to Zn2+ or Cu2+ was protected from inhibition, indicating that access of metal ions to sensitive functional groups was hindered in processively acting HA•HAS complexes. We conclude that clustered Cys residues mediate cooperative interactions with Mg2+ and that transition metal ions inhibit SeHAS very potently by interacting with one or more of these –SH groups.
PMCID: PMC4176928  PMID: 25267933
Streptococcal; Enzyme kinetics; Cooperativity; Mutagenesis; Cysteine cluster
2.  Hyaluronan synthase mediates dye translocation across liposomal membranes 
BMC Biochemistry  2012;13:2.
Hyaluronan (HA) is made at the plasma membrane and secreted into the extracellular medium or matrix by phospolipid-dependent hyaluronan synthase (HAS), which is active as a monomer. Since the mechanism by which HA is translocated across membranes is still unresolved, we assessed the presence of an intraprotein pore within HAS by adding purified Streptococcus equisimilis HAS (SeHAS) to liposomes preloaded with the fluorophore Cascade Blue (CB).
CB translocation (efflux) was not observed with mock-purified material from empty vector control E. coli membranes, but was induced by SeHAS, purified from membranes, in a time- and dose-dependent manner. CB efflux was eliminated or greatly reduced when purified SeHAS was first treated under conditions that inhibit enzyme activity: heating, oxidization or cysteine modification with N-ethylmaleimide. Reduced CB efflux also occurred with SeHAS K48E or K48F mutants, in which alteration of K48 within membrane domain 2 causes decreased activity and HA product size. The above results used liposomes containing bovine cardiolipin (BCL). An earlier study testing many synthetic lipids found that the best activating lipid for SeHAS is tetraoleoyl cardiolipin (TO-CL) and that, in contrast, tetramyristoyl cardiolipin (TM-CL) is an inactivating lipid (Weigel et al, J. Biol. Chem. 281, 36542, 2006). Consistent with the effects of these CL species on SeHAS activity, CB efflux was more than 2-fold greater in liposomes made with TO-CL compared to TM-CL.
The results indicate the presence of an intraprotein pore in HAS and support a model in which HA is translocated to the exterior by HAS itself.
PMCID: PMC3331846  PMID: 22276637

Results 1-2 (2)