C75, a synthetic inhibitor of FAS (fatty acid synthase), has both anti-tumour and anti-obesity properties. In this study we provide a detailed kinetic characterization of the mechanism of in vitro inhibition of rat liver FAS. At room temperature, C75 is a competitive irreversible inhibitor of the overall reaction with regard to all three substrates, i.e. acetyl-CoA, malonyl-CoA and NADPH, exhibiting pseudo-first-order kinetics of the complexing type, i.e. a weak non-covalent enzyme–inhibitor complex is formed before irreversible enzyme modification. C75 is a relatively inefficient inactivator of FAS, with a maximal rate of inactivation of 1 min−1 and an extrapolated KI (dissociation constant for the initial complex) of approx. 16 mM. The apparent second-order rate constants calculated from these values are 0.06 mM−1·min−1 at room temperature and 0.21 mM−1·min−1 at 37 °C. We also provide experimental evidence that C75 inactivates the β-ketoacyl synthase (3-oxoacyl synthase) partial activity of FAS. Unexpectedly, C75 also inactivates the enoyl reductase and thioesterase partial activities of FAS with about the same rates as for inactivation of the β-ketoacyl synthase. In contrast with the overall reaction, the β-ketoacyl synthase activity and the enoyl reductase activity, substrates do not protect the thioesterase activity of rat liver FAS from inactivation by C75. These results differentiate inactivation by C75 from that by cerulenin, which only inactivates the β-ketoacyl synthase activity of FAS, by forming an adduct with an active-site cysteine. Interference by dithiothreitol and protection by the substrates, acetyl-CoA, malonyl-CoA and NADPH, further distinguish the mechanism of C75-mediated inactivation from that of cerulenin. The most likely explanation for the multiple effects observed with C75 on rat liver FAS and its partial reactions is that there are multiple sites of interaction between C75 and FAS.

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