Methionine synthase reductase (MSR) catalyzes the conversion of the inactive form of human methionine synthase to the active state of the enzyme. This reaction is of paramount physiological importance since methionine synthase is an essential enzyme that plays a key role in the methionine and folate cycles. A common polymorphism in human MSR has been identified (66A → G) that leads to replacement of isoleucine with methionine at residue 22 and has an allele frequency of 0.5. Another polymorphism is 524C → T, which leads to the substitution of serine 175 with leucine, but its allele frequency is not known. The I22M polymorphism is a genetic determinant for mild hyperhomocysteinemia, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In this study, we have examined the kinetic properties of the M22/S 175 and I22/S175 and the I22/L175 and I22/S175 pairs of variants. EPR spectra of the semiquinone forms of variants I22/S175 and M22/S175 are indistinguishable and exhibit an isotropic signal at g = 2.00. In addition, the electronic absorption and reduction stoichiometries with NADPH are identical in these variants. Significantly, the variants activate methionine synthase with the same Vmax however, a 3 - 4-fold higher ratio of MSR to methionine synthase is required to elicit maximal activity with the M22/S175 and I22/L175 variant versus the I22/S175 enzyme. Differences are also observed between the variants in the efficacies of reduction of the artificial electron acceptors: ferricyanide, 2,6-dichloroin-dophenol, 3-acetylpyridine adenine dinucleotide phosphate, menadione, and the anticancer drug doxorubicin. These results reveal differences in the interactions between the natural and artificial electron acceptors and MSR variants in vitro, which are predicted to result in less efficient reductive repair of methionine synthase in vivo.
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