Bacimethrin (4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methoxypyrimidine), a natural product isolated from some bacteria, has been implicated as an inhibitor of bacterial and yeast growth, as well as in inhibition of thiamin biosynthesis. Given that thiamin biosynthetic enzymes could convert bacimethrin to 2′-methoxythiamin diphosphate (MeOThDP), it is important to evaluate the effect of this coenzyme analogue on thiamin diphosphate (ThDP)-dependent enzymes. The potential functions of MeOThDP were explored on five ThDP-dependent enzymes: the human and Escherichia coli pyruvate dehydrogenase complexes (PDHc-h and PDHc-ec, respectively), the E. coli 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (DXPS), and the human and E. coli 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complexes (OGDHc-h and OGDHc-ec, respectively). Using several mechanistic tools (fluorescence, circular dichroism, kinetics, and mass spectrometry), it was demonstrated that MeOThDP binds in the active centers of ThDP-dependent enzymes, however, with a binding mode different from that of ThDP. While modest activities resulted from addition of MeOThDP to E. coli PDHc (6-11%) and DXPS (9-14%), suggesting that MeOThDP-derived covalent intermediates are converted to the corresponding products (albeit with rates slower than that with ThDP), remarkably strong activity (up to 75%) resulted upon addition of the coenzyme analogue to PDHc-h. With PDHc-ec and PDHc-h, the coenzyme analogue could support all reactions, including communication between components in the complex. No functional substitution of MeOThDP for ThDP was in evidence with either OGDH-h or OGDH-ec, shown to be due to tight binding of ThDP.
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