Characterization of a substrate-derived radical detected during the inactivation of ribonucleotide reductase from Escherichia coli by 2'- fluoromethylene-2'-deoxycytidine 5'-diphosphate

Gary J. Gerfen, Wilfred A. Van Der Donk, Guixue Yu, James R. McCarthy, Esa T. Jarvi, Donald P. Matthews, Christian Farrar, Robert G. Griffin, Jo Anne Stubbe

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46 Scopus citations


Ribonucleotide reductase (RDPR) from E. coli catalyzes the conversion of nucleotides to deoxynucleotides and contains an unusual tyrosyl radical- diferric cluster cofactor (E)-2'-Fluoromethylene-2'-deoxycytidine 5'- diphosphate [(E)-1] obtained by phosphorylation of the clinically promising antitumor agent MDL 101,731, is a potent time-dependent inactivator of this protein. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy reveals that inactivation is accompanied by loss of the essential tyrosyl radical cofactor and formation of a new radical species. The 9.4-GHz EPR spectrum of this new radical reveals two hyperfine splittings of approximately 1.5 mT producing a triplet-like signal. Incubation of the enzyme with [6'-2H]-(E)-1 alters this EPR spectrum, providing the first evidence for a nucleotide-based radical species generated by RDPR. The observed spectrum is a 1:1 composite of a doublet and a triple signal, the latter being identical to that obtained with unlabeled (E)-1. Studies with (E)-1 in 2H2O also produce a 1:1 mixture of these two radical signals. The results of these isotope labeling experiments suggest wash-out or wash-in of ~0.5 equiv of deuterium at the 6' position, respectively. Incubation of the enzyme with [6'-2H]-(E)-1 in 2H2O produced only the doublet as would be expected on the basis of this hypothesis. EPR (139.5 GHz) spectra established the principal g values of the new radical species. Simulation of the 9.4- and 139.5-GHz EPR spectra yield a self- consistent set of principal hyperfine values. A structure is proposed for the radical intermediate that is consistent with the EPR data and kinetic data on release of the fluoride ion that accompanies inactivation. The proposed structure and a postulated mechanism for its formation provide further support for the hypothesis that catalysis is initiated by 3'-hydrogen atom abstraction from the nucleotide substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3823-3835
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Apr 29 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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