A new class of compounds, the 2-oxo-3-alkynoic acids with a phenyl substituent at carbon 4 was reported by the authors as potent irreversible and mechanism-based inhibitors of the thiamin diphosphate- (ThDP-) dependent enzyme pyruvate decarboxylase [Chiu, C.-F., and Jordan, F. (1994) J. Org. Chem. 59, 5763-5766]. The method has been successfully extended to the synthesis of the 4-, 5-, and 7-carbon aliphatic members of this family of compounds. These three compounds were then tested on three ThDP-dependent pyruvate decarboxylases: the Escherichia coli pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex (PDHc) and its El (ThDP-dependent) component, pyruvate oxidase (POX, phosphorylating; from Lactobacillus plantarum), and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. All three enzymes were irreversibly inhibited by the new compounds. The 4-carbon acid is the best substrate-analog inactivator known to date for PDHc, more potent than either fluoropyruvate or bromopyruvate. The following conclusions were drawn from extensive studies with PDHc: (a) The kinetics of inactivation of PDH complexes and of resolved E1 by 2-oxo-3-alkynoic acids is time- and concentration-dependent. (b) The 4-carbon acid has a K(i) 2 orders of magnitude stronger than the 5-carbon acid, clearly demonstrating the substrate specificity of PDHc. (c) The rate of inactivation of PDH complexes and of resolved El by 2-oxo-3-alkynoic acids is enhanced by the addition of ThDP and MgCl2. (d) Pyruvate completely protects El and partially protects PDHc from inactivation by 2-oxo-3-butynoic acid. (e) E1 but not E2-E3 is the target of inactivation by 2-oxo-3-butynoic acid. (f) inactivation of E1 by 2- oxo-3-butynoic acid is accompanied by modification of 1.3 cysteines/E1 monomer. The order of reactivity with the 4-carbon acid was PDHc > POX > PDC. While the order of reactivity with PDHc and POX was 2-oxo-3-butynoic acid > 2-oxo-3-pentynoic acid > 2-oxo-3-heptynoic acid, the order of reactivity was reversed with PDC.
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