Papain was irreversibly inhibited by 1,3-dibromoacetone, a reagent designed to react first with the active-site cysteine residue and subsequently with a second nucleophile. The molecular weight of the inhibited enzyme was indistinguishable from that of papain itself, and no evidence of dimeric or oligomeric species was found. The optical-rotatory-dispersion curves of chloroacetone-inhibited papain and 1,3-dibromoacetone-inhibited papain were essentially similar. Amino acid analysis of the 1,3-dibromo[2−14C]acetone-inhibited enzyme and the performic acid-oxidized material clearly showed that a cysteine and histidine residue had been alkylated through the thiol and N-1 of the imidazole group respectively. These groups must therefore be within 5å of each other in the tertiary structure of papain. Possible mechanistic implications are briefly discussed.
- © 1968 The Biochemical Society