Peptidylglycine monooxygenase (PHM) is essential for the posttranslational amidation of neuroendocrine peptides. An important aspect of the PHM mechanism is the complete coupling of oxygen reduction to substrate hydroxylation, which implies no oxygen reactivity of the fully reduced enzyme in the absence of peptidyl substrates. As part of studies aimed at investigating this feature of the PHM mechanism, we explored pre-steady-state kinetics using chemical quench (CQ) and rapid freeze-quench (RFQ) studies of the fully reduced ascorbate-free PHM enzyme. First, we confirmed the absence of Cu(I)-enzyme oxidation by O2 at catalytic rates in the absence of peptidyl substrate. Next, we investigated reactivity in the presence of the substrate dansyl-YVG. Surprisingly, when ascorbate-free di-Cu(I) PHM was shot against oxygenated buffer containing the dansyl-YVG substrate, <15% of the expected product was formed. Substoichiometric reactivity was confirmed by stopped-flow and RFQ EPR spectroscopy. Product generation reached a maximum of 70% by the addition of increasing amounts of the ascorbate cosubstrate in a process that was not the result of multiple turnovers. FTIR spectroscopy of the Cu(I)-CO reaction chemistry was then used to show that increasing ascorbate concentrations correlated with a substrate-induced Cu(I)M-CO species characteristic of an altered conformation. We conclude that ascorbate and peptidyl substrate work together to induce a transition from an inactive to an active conformation and suggest that the latter may represent the "closed"conformation (Cu-Cu of ∼4 Å) recently observed for both PHM and its sister enzyme DBM by crystallography.
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