Mammalian phosphofructokinase originated by duplication, fusion, and divergence of a primitive prokaryotic gene, with the duplicated fructose 6-phosphate catalytic site in the C-terminal half becoming an allosteric site for the activator fructose 2,6-bisphosphate. It has been suggested that both sites are shared across the interface between subunits aligned in an antiparallel orientation, the N-terminal half of one subunit facing the C-terminal half of the other. The composition of these binding sites and the way in which subunits interact to form the dimer within the tetrameric enzyme have been reexamined by systematic point mutations to alanine of key amino acid residues of human muscle phosphofructokinase. We found that residues His-199, His-298, Arg-201, and Arg-292 contribute to the catalytic site and not to the allosteric site, because their mutation decreased the affinity for fructose 6-phosphate without affecting the activation by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate or its binding affinity. In contrast, residues Arg-566, Arg-655, and His-661 were critical components of the fructose bisphosphate allosteric site, because their mutation strongly reduced the action and affinity of the activator, with no alteration of substrate binding to the active site. Our results suggest that mammalian phosphofructokinase subunits associate with the N-terminal halves facing each other to form the two catalytic sites/dimer and the C-terminal halves forming the allosteric sites. Additionally, mutation of certain residues eliminated activation by fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, but not its binding, with little effect on activation by fructose 2,6-bisphosphate, indicating a divergence in the signal transduction route despite their binding to the same site
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