Single-Molecule Kinetics Reveals Signatures of Half-Sites Reactivity in Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase A Catalysis

Author(s): J. Shi, Joe Dertouzos, Ari Gafni, Duncan Steel, Bruce A. Palfey


Subunit activity and cooperativity of a homodimeric flavoenzyme, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase A (DHODA) from Lactococcus lactis, were characterized by employing single-molecule spectroscopy to follow the turnover kinetics of individual DHODA molecules, eliminating ensemble averaging. Because the enzyme-bound FMN is fluorescent in its oxidized state but not when reduced, a single DHODA molecule exhibits stepwise fluorescence changes during turnover, providing a signal to determine reaction kinetics and study cooperativity. Our results showed significant heterogeneity in the catalytic behaviors of individual dimer molecules, with only 40% interconverting between the three possible redox states: the fully fluorescent (both subunits oxidized), the half-fluorescent (one subunit oxidized and the other reduced), and the nonfluorescent (both subunits reduced). Forty percent of the single dimer traces showed turnovers between only the fully fluorescent and half-fluorescent states. The remaining 20% of the molecules interconverted only between the half-fluorescent state and the nonfluorescent state. Kinetic analysis revealed very similar reaction rates in both the reductive and oxidative half-reactions for different DHODA dimers. Our single-molecule data provide strong evidence for half-sites reactivity, in which only one subunit reacts at a time. The present study presents an effective way to explore the subunit catalytic activity and cooperativity of oligomeric enzymes by virtue of single-molecule fluorescence.

Publication Information:

Name of Periodical: Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.

Issue Number: 103

Year of Publication: 2006

Page Numbers: 5775-5780