Negative cooperativity in enzyme reactions, in which the first event makes subsequent events less favorable, is sometimes well understood at the molecular level, but its physiological role has often been obscure. Negative cooperativity occurs in human glutathione transferase (GST) GSTP1-1 when it binds and neutralizes a toxic nitric oxide adduct, the dinitrosyl-diglutathionyl iron complex (DNDGIC). However, the generality of this behavior across the divergent GST family and its evolutionary significance were unclear. To investigate, we studied 16 different GSTs, revealing that negative cooperativity is present only in more recently evolved GSTs, indicating evolutionary drift in this direction. In some variants, Hill coefficients were close to 0.5, the highest degree of negative cooperativity commonly observed (although smaller values of n(H) are theoretically possible). As DNDGIC is also a strong inhibitor of GSTs, we suggest negative cooperativity might have evolved to maintain a residual conjugating activity of GST against toxins even in the presence of high DNDGIC concentrations. Interestingly, two human isoenzymes that play a special protective role, safeguarding DNA from DNDGIC, display a classical half-of-the-sites interaction. Analysis of GST structures identified elements that could play a role in negative cooperativity in GSTs. Beside the well known lock-and-key and clasp motifs, other alternative structural interactions between subunits may be proposed for a few GSTs. Taken together, our findings suggest the evolution of self-preservation of enzyme function as a novel facility emerging from negative cooperativity.
2016. Vol. 291, no 52, 26739-26749 p.