Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin Madison (2009)

Stanford Advisors


Journal Articles

  • Spectroscopic characterization of active-site variants of the PduO-type ATP:corrinoid adenosyltransferase from Lactobacillus reuteri: insights into the mechanism of four-coordinate Co(II)corrinoid formation. Inorg Chem Park, K., Mera, P. E., Escalante-Semerena, J. C., Brunold, T. C. 2012

    View details for DOI 10.1021/ic202096x

  • Multiple roles of ATP:cob(I) alamin adenosyltransferases in the conversion of B-12 to coenzyme B-12 APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY Mera, P. E., Escalante-Semerena, J. C. 2010; 88 (1): 41-48


    Our mechanistic understanding of the conversion of vitamin B(12) into coenzyme B(12) (a.k.a. adenosylcobalamin, AdoCbl) has been substantially advanced in recent years. Insights into the multiple roles played by ATP:cob(I)alamin adenosyltransferase (ACA) enzymes have emerged through the crystallographic, spectroscopic, biochemical, and mutational analyses of wild-type and variant proteins. ACA enzymes circumvent the thermodynamic barrier posed by the very low redox potential associated with the reduction of cob(II)alamin to cob(I)alamin by generating a unique four-coordinate cob(II)alamin intermediate that is readily converted to cob(I)alamin by physiological reductants. ACA enzymes not only synthesize AdoCbl but also they deliver it to the enzymes that use it, and in some cases, enzymes in which its function is needed to maintain the fidelity of the AdoCbl delivery process have been identified. Advances in our understanding of ACA enzyme function have provided valuable insights into the role of specific residues, and into why substitutions of these residues have profound negative effects on human health. From an applied science standpoint, a better understanding of the adenosylation reaction may lead to more efficient ways of synthesizing AdoCbl.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00253-010-2773-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000280914900005

    View details for PubMedID 20677021

  • Dihydroflavin-driven Adenosylation of 4-Coordinate Co(II) Corrinoids ARE COBALAMIN REDUCTASES ENZYMES OR ELECTRON TRANSFER PROTEINS? JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Mera, P. E., Escalante-Semerena, J. C. 2010; 285 (5)


    The identity of the source of the biological reductant needed to convert cobalamin to its biologically active form adenosylcobalamin has remained elusive. Here we show that free or protein-bound dihydroflavins can serve as the reductant of Co(2+)Cbl bound in the active site of PduO-type ATP-dependent corrinoid adenosyltransferase enzymes. Free dihydroflavins (dihydroriboflavin, FMNH(2), and FADH(2)) effectively drove the adenosylation of Co(2+)Cbl by the human and bacterial PduO-type enzymes at very low concentrations (1 microm). These data show that adenosyltransferase enzymes lower the thermodynamic barrier of the Co(2+) --> Co(+) reduction needed for the formation of the unique organometalic Co-C bond of adenosylcobalamin. Collectively, our in vivo and in vitro data suggest that cobalamin reductases identified thus far are most likely electron transfer proteins, not enzymes.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M109.059485

    View details for Web of Science ID 000273829000005

    View details for PubMedID 19933577

  • Residue Phe112 of the Human-Type Corrinoid Adenosyltransferase (PduO) Enzyme of Lactobacillus reuteri Is Critical to the Formation of the Four-Coordinate Co(II) Corrinoid Substrate and to the Activity of the Enzyme BIOCHEMISTRY Mera, P. E., St Maurice, M., Rayment, I., Escalante-Semerena, J. C. 2009; 48 (14): 3138-3145


    ATP:Corrinoid adenosyltransferases (ACAs) catalyze the transfer of the adenosyl moiety from ATP to cob(I)alamin via a four-coordinate cob(II)alamin intermediate. At present, it is unknown how ACAs promote the formation of the four-coordinate corrinoid species needed for activity. The published high-resolution crystal structure of the ACA from Lactobacillus reuteri (LrPduO) in complex with ATP and cob(II)alamin shows that the environment around the alpha face of the corrin ring consists of bulky hydrophobic residues. To understand how these residues promote the generation of the four-coordinate cob(II)alamin, variants of the human-type ACA enzyme from L. reuteri (LrPduO) were kinetically and structurally characterized. These studies revealed that residue Phe112 is critical in the displacement of 5,6-dimethylbenzimidazole (DMB) from its coordination bond with the Co ion of the ring, resulting in the formation of the four-coordinate species. An F112A substitution resulted in a 80% drop in the catalytic efficiency of the enzyme. The explanation for this loss of activity was obtained from the crystal structure of the mutant protein, which showed cob(II)alamin bound in the active site with DMB coordinated to the cobalt ion. The crystal structure of an LrPduO(F112H) variant showed a DMB-off/His-on interaction between the corrinoid and the enzyme, whose catalytic efficiency was 4 orders of magnitude lower than that of the wild-type protein. The analysis of the kinetic parameters of LrPduO(F112H) suggests that the F112H substitution negatively impacts product release. Substitutions of other hydrophobic residues in the Cbl binding pocket did not result in significant defects in catalytic efficiency in vitro; however, none of the variant enzymes analyzed in this work supported AdoCbl biosynthesis in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bi9000134

    View details for Web of Science ID 000264983800012

    View details for PubMedID 19236001

  • Kinetic and spectroscopic studies of the ATP: Corrinoid adenosyltransferase PduO from Lactobacillus reuteri: Substrate specificity and insights into the mechanism of Co(II)corrinoid reduction BIOCHEMISTRY Park, K., Mera, P. E., Escalante-Semerena, J. C., Brunold, T. C. 2008; 47 (34): 9007-9015


    The PduO-type ATP:corrinoid adenosyltransferase from Lactobacillus reuteri ( LrPduO) catalyzes the formation of the essential Co-C bond of adenosylcobalamin (coenzyme B 12) by transferring the adenosyl group from cosubstrate ATP to a transient Co (1+)corrinoid species generated in the enzyme active site. While PduO-type enzymes have previously been believed to be capable of adenosylating only Co (1+)cobalamin (Co (1+)Cbl (-)), our kinetic data obtained in this study provide in vitro evidence that LrPduO can in fact also utilize the incomplete corrinoid Co (1+)cobinamide (Co (1+)Cbi) as an alternative substrate. To explore the mechanism by which LrPduO overcomes the thermodynamically challenging reduction of its Co (2+)corrinoid substrates, we have examined how the enzyme active site alters the geometric and electronic properties of Co (2+)Cbl and Co (2+)Cbi (+) by using electronic absorption, magnetic circular dichroism, and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopic techniques. Our data reveal that upon binding to LrPduO that was preincubated with ATP, both Co (2+)corrinoids undergo a partial ( approximately 40-50%) conversion to distinct paramagnetic Co (2+) species. The spectroscopic signatures of these species are consistent with essentially four-coordinate, square-planar Co (2+) complexes, based on a comparison with the results obtained in our previous studies of related enzymes. Consequently, it appears that the general strategy employed by adenosyltransferases for effecting Co (2+) --> Co (1+) reduction involves the formation of an "activated" Co (2+)corrinoid intermediate that lacks any significant axial bonding interactions, to stabilize the redox-active, Co 3d z (2) -based molecular orbital.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bi800419e

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258579700021

    View details for PubMedID 18672897

  • Structural characterization of a human-type corrinoid adenosyltransferase confirms that coenzyme B12 is synthesized through a four-coordinate intermediate Biochemistry St Maurice, M., Mera, P. E., Park, K., Brunold, T. C., Escalante-Semerena, J. C., Rayment, I. 2008: 5755-66

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bi800132d

  • Structural and functional analyses of the human-type corrinoid adenosyltransferase (PduO) from Lactobacillus reuteri BIOCHEMISTRY Mera, P. E., Maurice, M. S., Rayment, I., Escalante-Semerena, J. C. 2007; 46 (48): 13829-13836


    ATP:Co(I)rrinoid adenosyltransferase (ACA) catalyzes the conversion of cobalamin to coenzyme B12, an essential cofactor in animal metabolism. Several mutations of conserved residues in the active site of human ACA have been identified in humans with methylmalonic aciduria. However, the catalytic role of these residues remains unclear. To better understand the function of these residues and to determine how the enzyme promotes catalysis, several variants of a human-type ACA from the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri (LrPduO) were kinetically and structurally characterized. Kinetic analyses of a series of alternate nucleotides were also performed. Substrate inhibition was observed at subsaturating concentrations of ATP, consistent with an ordered binding scheme where ATP is bound first by the enzyme. Modification or elimination of an active site, inter-subunit salt bridge resulted in a reduced "on" rate for ATP binding, with a less significant disruption in the rate of subsequent catalytic steps. Kinetic and structural data demonstrate that residue Arg132 is not involved in orienting ATP in the active site but, rather, it stabilizes the altered substrate in the transition state. Two functional groups of ATP explain the reduced ability of the enzyme to use alternate nucleotides: the amino group at the C-6 position of ATP contributes approximately 6 kcal/mol of free energy to ground state binding, and the nitrogen at the N-7 position assists in coordinating the magnesium ion in the active site. This study provides new insight into the role of substrate binding determinants and active site residues in the reaction catalyzed by a human-type ACA.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/bi701622j

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251241500016

    View details for PubMedID 17988155

  • Structural characterization of the active site of the PduO-type ATP : Co(I)rrinoid adenosyltransferase from Lactobacillus reuteri JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY St Maurice, M., Mera, P. E., Taranto, M. P., Sesma, F., Escalante-Semerena, J. C., Rayment, I. 2007; 282 (4): 2596-2605


    The three-dimensional crystal structure of the PduO-type corrinoid adenosyltransferase from Lactobacillus reuteri (LrPduO) has been solved to 1.68-A resolution. The functional assignment of LrPduO as a corrinoid adenosyltransferase was confirmed by in vivo and in vitro evidence. The enzyme has an apparent Km(ATP) of 2.2 microM and Km(Cobalamin) of 0.13 microM and a kcat of 0.025 s(-1). Co-crystallization of the enzyme with Mg-ATP resulted in well-defined electron density for an N-terminal loop that had been disordered in other PduO-type enzyme structures. This newly defined N-terminal loop makes up the lower portion of the enzyme active site with the other half being contributed from an adjacent subunit. These results provide the first detailed description of the enzyme active site for a PduO-type adenosyltransferase and identify a unique ATP binding motif at the protein N terminus. The molecular architecture at the active site offers valuable new insight into the role of various residues responsible for the human disease methylmalonic aciduria.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M609557200

    View details for Web of Science ID 000243593200052

    View details for PubMedID 17121823

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