An open reading frame, encoding for KDOPS (3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonate 8-phosphate synthase), from Arabidopsis thaliana was cloned into a T7-driven expression vector. The protein was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Recombinant A. thaliana KDOPS, in solution, displays an apparent molecular mass of 76 kDa and a subunit molecular mass of 31.519 kDa. Unlike previously studied bacterial KDOPSs, which are tetrameric, A. thaliana KDOPS appears to be a dimer in solution. The optimum temperature of the enzyme is 65 °C and the optimum pH is 7.5, with a broad peak between pH 6.5 and 9.5 showing 90% of maximum activity. The enzyme cannot be inactivated by EDTA or dipicolinic acid treatment, nor it can be activated by a series of bivalent metal ions, suggesting that it is a non-metallo-enzyme, as opposed to the initial prediction that it would be a metallo-enzyme. Kinetic studies showed that the enzyme follows a sequential mechanism with Km=3.6 μM for phosphoenolpyruvate and 3.8 μM for D-arabinose 5-phosphate and kcat=5.9 s−1 at 37 °C. On the basis of the characterization of A. thaliana KDOPS and phylogenetic analysis, plant KDOPSs may represent a new, distinct class of KDOPSs.

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