Serine is ubiquitously synthesized in all living organisms from the glycolysis intermediate 3-phosphoglycerate (PGA) by phosphoserine biosynthetic pathway, consisting of three different enzymes, namely: 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PGDH), phosphoserine aminotransferase (PSAT), and phosphoserine phosphatase (PSP). Any functional defect or mutation in these enzymes may cause deliberating conditions, such as colon cancer progression and chemoresistance in humans. Phosphoserine aminotransferase (PSAT) is the second enzyme in this pathway that converts phosphohydroxypyruvate (PHP) to O-phospho-L-serine (OPLS).
Humans encode two isoforms of this enzyme: PSAT1 and PSAT2. PSAT1 exists as a functional dimer, where each protomer has a large and a small domain; each large domain contains a Lys residue that covalently binds PLP. The PLP-binding site of human PSAT1 and most of its active site residues are highly conserved in all known PSAT structures except for Cys-80. Interestingly, Two PSAT structures from different organisms show halide binding near their active site. While the human PSAT1 shows a water molecule at this site with different interacting residues, suggesting the inability of halide binding in the human enzyme. Analysis of the human PSAT1 structure showed a big patch of positive charge around the active site, in contrast to the bacterial PSATs. Compared to human PSAT1, the PSAT2 isoform lacks 46 residues at its C-terminal tail. This tail region is present at the opening of the active site as observed in the other PSAT structures. Further structural work on human PSAT2 may reveal the functional importance of these 46 residues.