Association of tetramers of human butyrylcholinesterase is mediated by conserved aromatic residues of the carboxy terminus

Cibby Varkey Altamirano, Oksana Lockridge

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Human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is composed predominantly of tetramers. Our laboratory has shown that up to 40 carboxy terminal residues of each subunit contribute to the stabilization of tetramers (R.M. Blong, E. Bedows, O. Lockridge, The tetramerization domain of butyrylcholinesterase is at the carboxy-terminus, Biochem. J. 327 (1997) 747-757). To better define the residues which participate in tetramer stabilization, the in vivo interaction of the BChE C-terminus 46 residue peptide was quantitated for wild type and mutant BChE using the yeast two-hybrid system. The wild type C-terminal peptides interacted with one another in this system. The K-variant (A539T) and C571A peptides showed interaction similar to that of the wild type. However, only 11.7% of the interaction seen with the wild type peptide was observed with the mutant in which seven conserved aromatic residues (Trp 543, Phe 547, Trp 550, Tyr 553, Trp 557, Phe 561, and Tyr 564) had been altered to alanines (aromatics off mutant). When these seven mutations were incorporated into the complete BChE molecule and expressed in 293T cells, only monomers and dimers were observed. The addition of poly-l-proline to the medium of 293T cells expressing wild type BChE resulted in the increase of the tetrameric form, similar to that observed by Bon et al. (S. Bon, F. Coussen, J. Massoulie, Quaternary associations of acetylcholinesterase II. The polyproline attachment domain of the collagen tail, J. Biol. Chem. 272 (1997) 3016-3021) for acetylcholinesterase expressed in COS cells. However, no increase in tetramers was observed with poly-l-proline addition to the medium of 293T cells expressing the aromatics off BChE mutant. These observations suggest that the stabilization of BChE tetramers is mediated through the interaction of the seven conserved aromatic residues, Trp 543, Phe 547, Trp 550, Tyr 553, Trp 557, Phe 561, and Tyr 564, and that the poly-l-proline induced increase in tetrameric BChE is mediated through these seven aromatic residues. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
StatePublished - May 14 1999



  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • K-variant
  • Poly-L-proline
  • Proline-rich attachment domain
  • Tetramerization domain
  • Yeast two-hybrid system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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