The biosynthesis of branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs (l-isoleucine, l-leucine, and l-valine) is essential in eubacteria, but mammals are branched-chain amino acid auxotrophs, making the enzymes in the pathway excellent targets for antibacterial drug development. The biosynthesis of l-isoleucine, l-leucine, and l-valine is very efficient, requiring only eight enzymes. Threonine dehydratase (TD), a pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme encoded by the ilvA gene, is the enzyme responsible for the conversion of l-threonine (l-Thr) to α-ketobutyrate, ammonia, and water, which is the first step in the biosynthesis of l-isoleucine. We have cloned, expressed, and biochemically characterized the reaction catalyzed by Mycobacterium smegmatis TD (abbreviated as MsIlvA) using steady-state kinetics and kinetic isotope effects. We show here that in addition to l-threonine, l-allo-threonine and l-serine are also used as substrates by TD, and all exhibit sigmoidal, non-Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Curiously, β-chloro-l-alanine was also a substrate rather than an inhibitor as expected. The enzymatic activity of TD is sensitive to the presence of allosteric regulators, including the activator l-valine or the end product feedback inhibitor of the BCAA pathway in which TD is involved, l-isoleucine. Primary deuterium kinetic isotopes are small, suggesting Cα proton abstraction is only partially rate-limiting. Solvent kinetic isotopes were significantly larger, indicating that a proton transfer occurring during the reaction is also partially rate-limiting. Finally, we demonstrate that l-cycloserine, a general inhibitor of PLP-dependent enzymes, is an excellent inhibitor of threonine deaminase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas