Research Articles

Structure of the nucleotide activation switch in glycogen phosphorylase a

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Science  28 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4818, pp. 1012-1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.3616621


Adenosine monophosphate is required for the activation of glycogen phosphorylase b and for release of the inhibition of phosphorylase a by glucose. Two molecules of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) bind to symmetry related sites at the subunit interface of the phosphorylase dimer. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) binds to the same site, but does not promote catalytic activity. The structure of glucose-inhibited phosphorylase a bound to AMP and also of the complex formed with glucose and ATP is described. Crystallographic refinement of these complexes reveals that structural changes are associated with AMP but not ATP binding. The origin of these effects can be traced to different effector binding modes exhibited by AMP and ATP, respectively. The conformational changes associated with AMP binding traverse multiple paths in the enzyme and link the effector and catalytic sites.