Published by Portland Press on behalf of the Biochemical Society
Biochemical Journal vol:374 pages:529-535
DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) catalyses the metabolically important reduction of 7,8-dihydrofolate by NADPH. DHFR from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima (TmDHFR), which shares similarity with DHFR from Escherichia coli, has previously been characterized structurally. Its tertiary structure is similar to that of DHFR from L coli but it is the only DHFR characterized so far that relies on dimerization for stability. The midpoint of the thermal unfolding of TmDHFR was at approx. 83 degreesC, which was 30 degreesC higher than the melting temperature of DHFR from E. coli. The turnover and the hydride-transfer rates in the kinetic scheme of TmDHFR were derived from measurements of the steady-state and pre-steady-state kinetics using absorbance and stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy. The rate constant for hydride transfer was found to depend strongly on the temperature and the pH of the solution. Hydride transfer was slow (0.14 s(-1) at 25 degreesC) and at least partially rate limiting at low temperatures but increased dramatically with temperature. At 80 degreesC the hydride-transfer rate of TmDHFR was 20 times lower than that observed for the E. coli enzyme at its physiological temperature. Hydride transfer depended on ionization of a single group in the active site with a pK(a), of 6.0. While at 30 degreesC, turnover of substrate by TmDHFR was almost two orders of magnitude slower than by DHFR from E. coli; the steady-state rates of the two enzymes differed only 8-fold at their respective working temperatures.