Pivotal role of the C-terminal DW-motif in mediating inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 2 by dichloroacetate

Jun Li, Masato Kato, David T. Chuang

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28 Scopus citations


The mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) is down-regulated by phosphorylation catalyzed by pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) isoforms 1-4. Overexpression of PDK isoforms and therefore reduced PDC activity prevails in cancer and diabetes. In the present study, we investigated the role of the invariant C-terminal DW-motif in inhibition of human PDK2 by dichloroacetate (DCA). Substitutions were made in the DW-motif (Asp-382 and Trp-383) and its interacting residues (Tyr-145 and Arg-149) in the other subunit of PDK2 homodimer. Single and double mutants show 20-60% residual activities that are not stimulated by the PDC core. The R149A and Y145F/R149A mutants show drastic increases in apparent IC50 values for DCA, whereas binding affinities for DCA are comparable with wild-type PDK2. Both R149A and Y145F variants exhibit increased similar affinities for ADP and ATP, mimicking the effects of DCA. The R149A and the DW-motif mutations (D382A/W383A) forestall binding of the lipoyl domain of PDC to these mutants, analogous to wild-type PDK2 in the presence of DCA and ADP. In contrast, the binding of a dihydrolipoamide mimetic AZD7545 is largely unaffected in these PDK2 variants. Our results illuminate the pivotal role of the DW-motif in mediating communications between the DCA-, the nucleotide-, and the lipoyl domain-binding sites. This signaling network locks PDK2 in the inactive closed conformation, which is in equilibrium with the active open conformation without DCA and ADP. These results implicate the DW-motif anchoring site as a drug target for the inhibition of aberrant PDK activity in cancer and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34458-34467
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 4 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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