Department of Chemistry

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Lysine deacetylases (KDACs) are enzymes that reverse the post-translational modification of lysine acetylation. Recently, a series of N-acetylthioureas were synthesized and reported to enhance the activity of KDAC8 with a fluorogenic substrate. To determine if the activation was general, we synthesized three of the most potent N-acetylthioureas and measured their effect with peptide substrates and the fluorogenic substrate under multiple reaction conditions and utilizing two enzyme purification approaches. No activation was observed for any of the three N-acetylthioureas under any assayed conditions. Further characteriza- tion of KDAC8 kinetics with the fluorogenic substrate yielded a k cat /K M of 164 ± 17 in the absence of any N-acetylthioureas. This catalytic efficiency is comparable to or higher than that previously reported when KDAC8 was activated by the N-acetylthioureas, suggesting that the previously reported activation effect may be due to use of an enzyme preparation that contains a large fraction of inactive enzyme. Further characterization with a less active preparation and additional substrates leads us to conclude that N-acetylthioureas are not true activators of KDAC8 and only increase activity if the enzyme preparation is below the maximal basal activity.