The effects of aromatic stacking interactions on the stabilization of reduced flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and substrate/product have been investigated in short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (SCAD) from Megasphaera elsdenii. Mutations were made at the aromatic residues Phe160 and Tyr366, which flank either face of the noncovalently bound flavin cofactor. The electrochemical properties of the mutants were then measured in the presence and absence of a butyryl-CoA/crotonyl-CoA mixture. Results from these redox studies suggest that the phenylalanine and tyrosine both engage in favorable π-σ interactions with the isoalloxazine ring of the flavin to help stabilize formation of the anionic flavin hydroquinone. Disruption of these interactions by replacing either residue with a leucine (F160L and Y366L) causes the midpoint potential for the oxidized/hydroquinone couple (Eox/hq) to shift negative by 44-54 mV. The Eox/hq value was also found to decrease when aromatic residues containing electron-donating heteroatoms were introduced at the 160 position. Potential shifts of -32 and -43 mV for the F160Y and F160W mutants, respectively, are attributed to increased π-π repulsive interactions between the ring systems. This study also provides evidence for thermodynamic regulation of the substrate/product couple in the active site of SCAD. Binding to the wild-type enzyme caused the midpoint potential for the butyryl-CoA/crotonyl-CoA couple (EBCoA/CCoA) to shift 14 mV negative, stabilizing the oxidized product. Formation of product was found to be even more favorable in complexes with the F160Y and F160W mutants, suggesting that the electrostatic environment around the flavin plays a role in substrate/product activation.
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