New family of biuret hydrolases involved in s -triazine ring metabolism

Stephan M. Cameron, Katharina Durchschein, Jack E Richman, Michael J Sadowsky, Lawrence P Wackett

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24 Scopus citations


Biuret is an intermediate in the bacterial metabolism of s-triazine ring compounds and is occasionally used as a ruminant feed supplement. We used bioinformatics to identify a biuret hydrolase, an enzyme that has previously resisted efforts to stabilize, purify, and characterize. This newly discovered enzyme is a member of the cysteine hydrolase superfamily, a family of enzymes previously not found to be involved in s-triazine metabolism. The gene from Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae strain 3841 encoding biuret hydrolase was synthesized, transformed into Escherichia coli, and expressed. The enzyme was purified and found to be stable. Biuret hydrolase catalyzed the hydrolysis of biuret to allophanate and ammonia. The kcat/KM of 1.7 × 105 M-1 s-1and the relatively low KM of 23 ± 4 M together suggested that this enzyme acts uniquely on biuret physiologically. This is supported by the fact that of the 34 substrate analogs of biuret tested, only two demonstrated reactivity, both at less than 5% of the rate determined for biuret. Biuret hydrolase does not react with carboxybiuret, the product of the enzyme immediately preceding biuret hydrolase in the metabolic pathway for cyanuric acid. This suggests an unusual metabolic strategy of an enzymatically produced intermediate undergoing nonenzymatic decarboxylation to produce the substrate for the next enzyme in the pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1082
Number of pages8
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2011


  • C NMR
  • allophanate
  • biuret
  • biuret hydrolase
  • carboxybiuret
  • enzyme
  • kinetics


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