Multienzyme interactions of the de novo purine biosynthetic protein PAICS facilitate purinosome formation and metabolic channeling

Jingxuan He, Ling Nan Zou, Vidhi Pareek, Stephen J. Benkovic

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11 Scopus citations


There is growing evidence that mammalian cells deploy a mitochondria-associated metabolon called the purinosome to perform channeled de novo purine biosynthesis (DNPB). However, the molecular mechanisms of this substrate-channeling pathway are not well defined. Here, we present molecular evidence of protein–protein interactions (PPIs) between the human bifunctional phosphoribosylaminoimidazole carboxylase/succinocarboxamide synthetase (PAICS) and other known DNPB enzymes. We employed two orthogonal approaches: bimolecular fluorescence complementation, to probe PPIs inside live, intact cells, and co-immunoprecipitation using StrepTag-labeled PAICS that was reintegrated into the genome of PAICS-knockout HeLa cells (crPAICS). With the exception of amidophosphoribosyltransferase, the first enzyme of the DNPB pathway, we discovered PAICS interacts with all other known DNPB enzymes and with MTHFD1, an enzyme which supplies the 10-formyltetrahydrofolate cofactor essential for DNPB. We show these interactions are present in cells grown in both purine-depleted and purine-rich conditions, suggesting at least a partial assembly of these enzymes may be present regardless of the activity of the DNPB pathway. We also demonstrate that tagging of PAICS on its C terminus disrupts these interactions and that this disruption is correlated with disturbed DNPB activity. Finally, we show that crPAICS cells with reintegrated N-terminally tagged PAICS regained effective DNPB with metabolic signatures of channeled synthesis, whereas crPAICS cells that reintegrated C-terminally tagged PAICS exhibit reduced DNPB intermediate pools and a perturbed partitioning of inosine monophosphate into AMP and GMP. Our results provide molecular evidence in support of purinosomes and suggest perturbing PPIs between DNPB enzymes negatively impact metabolite flux through this important pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101853
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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