The plasticity of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex confers a labile structure that is associated with its catalytic activity
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) is a multienzyme complex that plays a key role in energy metabolism by converting pyruvate to acetyl-CoA. An increase of nuclear PDC has been shown to be correlated with an increase of histone acetylation that requires acetyl-CoA. PDC has been reported to form a ~ 10 MDa macromolecular machine that is proficient in performing sequential catalytic reactions via its three components. In this study, we show that the PDC displays size versatility in an ionic strength-dependent manner using size exclusion chromatography of yeast cell extracts. Biochemical analysis in combination with mass spectrometry indicates that yeast PDC (yPDC) is a salt-labile complex that dissociates into sub-megadalton individual components even under physiological ionic strength. Interestingly, we find that each oligomeric component of yPDC displays a larger size than previously believed. In addition, we show that the mammalian PDC also displays this uncommon characteristic of salt-lability, although it has a somewhat different profile compared to yeast. We show that the activity of yPDC is reduced in higher ionic strength. Our results indicate that the structure of PDC may not always maintain its ~ 10 MDa organization, but is rather variable. We propose that the flexible nature of PDC may allow modulation of its activity. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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