, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 641–651 | Cite as

Structural and functional characterization of 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase from the thermoacidophilic archaeon Picrophilus torridus

  • Eduard Frick
  • Thomas Spatzal
  • Stefan Gerhardt
  • Andreas Krämer
  • Oliver Einsle
  • Wolfgang HüttelEmail author
Original Paper


4-Hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (Hpd, EC catalyzes the conversion of 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate into homogentisate in the second step of oxidative tyrosine catabolism. This pathway is known from bacteria and eukaryotes, but so far no archaeal Hpd has been described. Here, we report the biochemical characterization of an Hpd from the extremophilic archaeon Picrophilus torridus (Pt_Hpd), together with its three-dimensional structure at a resolution of 2.6 Å. Two pH optima were observed at 50 °C: pH 4.0 (close to native conditions) and pH 7.0. The enzyme showed only moderate thermostability and was inactivated with a half-life of ~1.5 h even under optimal reaction conditions. At the ideal physiological growth conditions of P. torridus, Pt_Hpd was inactive after 1 h, showing that the enzyme is protected in vivo from denaturation and/or is only partially adapted to the harsh environmental conditions in the cytosol of P. torridus. The influence of different additives on the activity was investigated. Pt_Hpd exhibited a turnover number k cat of 9.9 ± 0.6 s−1 and a substrate binding affinity K m of 142 ± 23 µM. In addition, substrate inhibition with a binding affinity K i of 1.9 ± 0.3 mM was observed. Pt_Hpd is compared with isoenzymes from other species and the putative bacterial origin of the gene is discussed.


4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase Picrophilustorridus Enzyme structure Protein stability 



We thank Prof. Michael Müller for his generous support. The skillful technical assistance in chemical synthesis by Alexandra Walter is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank Eva-Maria Burger for help with the analytical size exclusion chromatography. Thorsten Friedrich is acknowledged for the possibility to determine kinetic parameters in his laboratory and Klaudia Morina for help with the oxygen electrode. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Grant EI 520/7 to O.E.).

Supplementary material

792_2014_645_MOESM1_ESM.doc (210 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduard Frick
    • 1
  • Thomas Spatzal
    • 2
  • Stefan Gerhardt
    • 2
  • Andreas Krämer
    • 2
  • Oliver Einsle
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Hüttel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmazeutische WissenschaftenAlbert-Ludwigs-Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Biochemie und BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling StudiesAlbert-Ludwigs-Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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