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J Biol Chem. 1995 Dec 8;270(49):29498-506.

Structural and functional consequences of mutations in 6-pyruvoyltetrahydropterin synthase causing hyperphenylalaninemia in humans. Phosphorylation is a requirement for in vivo activity.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Zürich, Switzerland.


Four naturally occurring mutants with single amino acid alterations in human 6-pyruvoyltetrahydropterin synthase (PTPS) were overexpressed and characterized in vitro. The corresponding DNA mutations were found in patients with hyperphenylalaninemia and monoamine neurotransmitter insufficiency due to lack of the tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthetic enzyme PTPS. To predict the structure of the mutant enzymes, computer modeling was performed based on the solved three-dimensional structure of the homohexameric rat enzyme. One mutant (delta V57) is incorrectly folded and thus unstable in vitro and in vivo, while a second mutant (P87L) has substantial activity but enhanced sensitivity to local unfolding. Two other mutants, R16C and R25Q, form stable homomultimers and exhibit significant activity in vitro but no activity in COS-1 cells. In vivo 32P labeling showed that wild-type PTPS, P87L, and R25Q are phosphorylated, while R16C is not modified. This strongly suggests that the serine 19 within the consensus sequence for various kinases, RXXS, is the site of modification. Our results demonstrate that PTPS undergoes protein phosphorylation and requires additional, not yet identified post-translational modification(s) for its in vivo function.

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