Organophosphorylation of acetylcholinesterase in the presence of peripheral site ligands. Distinct effects of propidium and fasciculin

William D. Mallender, Tivadar Szegletes, Terrone L. Rosenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Structural analysis of acetylcholinesterase (ACHE) has revealed two sites of ligand interaction in the active site gorge: an acylation site at the base of the gorge and a peripheral site at its mouth. A goal of our studies is to understand how ligand binding to the peripheral site alters the reactivity of substrates and organophosphates at the acylation site. Kinetic rate constants were determined for the phosphorylation of AChE by two fluorogenic organophosphates, 7-[(diethoxyphosphoryl)oxy]-1-methylquinolinium iodide (DEPQ) and 7-[(methylethoxyphosphonyl)oxy]-4-methylcoumarin (EMPC), by monitoring release of the fluorescent leaving group. Rate constants obtained with human erythrocyte AChE were in good agreement with those obtained for recombinant human AChE produced from a high level Drosophila S2 cell expression system. First-order rate constants k(OP) were 1,600 ± 300 min- 1 for DEPQ and 150 ± 11 min-1 for EMPC, and second-order rate constants k(OP)/K(OP) were 193 ± 13 μ-1 min-1 for DEPQ and 0.71.0 ± 0.1 μM-1 min-1 for EMPC. Binding of the small ligand propidium to the AChE peripheral site decreased k(OP)/K(OP), by factors of 2-20 for these organophosphates. Such modest inhibitory effects are consistent with our recently proposed steric blockade model (Szegletes, T., Mallender, W. D., and Rosenberry, T. L. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 4206-4216). Moreover, the binding of propidium resulted in a clear increase in k(OP) for EMPC, suggesting that molecular or electronic strain caused by the proximity of propidium to EMPC in the ternary complex may promote phosphorylation. In contrast, the binding of the polypeptide neurotoxin fasciculin to the peripheral site of AChE dramatically decreased phosphorylation rate constants. Values of k(OP)/K(OP) were decreased by factors of 103 to 105, and k(OP) was decreased by factors of 300-4,000. Such pronounced inhibition suggested a conformational change in the acylation site induced by fasciculin binding. As a note of caution to other investigators, measurements of phosphorylation of the fasciculin-AChE complex by AChE inactivation gave misleading rate constants because a small fraction of the AChE was resistant to inhibition by fasciculin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8491-8499
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 26 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Organophosphorylation of acetylcholinesterase in the presence of peripheral site ligands. Distinct effects of propidium and fasciculin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this