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Mechanistic consequences of replacing the active-site nucleophile Glu-358 in Agrobacterium sp. beta-glucosidase with a cysteine residue

TitleMechanistic consequences of replacing the active-site nucleophile Glu-358 in Agrobacterium sp. beta-glucosidase with a cysteine residue
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsLawson, SL, WARREN, RAJ, Withers, SG
JournalBIOCHEMICAL JOURNAL
Volume330
Pagination203-209
Date PublishedFEB 15
ISSN0264-6021
Abstract

Retaining glycosidases achieve the hydrolysis of glycosidic bonds through the assistance of two key active-site carboxyls. One carboxyl functions as a nucleophile/leaving group, and the other acts as the acid-base catalyst. It has been suggested that a cysteine residue could fulfil the role of the active site nucleophile {[}Hardy and Poteete (1991) Biochemistry 30, 9457-9463]. To test the validity of this proposal, a kinetic evaluation was conducted on the active-site nucleophile cysteine mutant (Glu-358 –> Cys) of the retaining beta-glucosidase from Agrobacterium sp. The Glu-358 –> Cys mutant was able to complete the first step (glycosylation) of the enzymic mechanism, forming a covalent glycosylenzyme intermediate, but the rate constant for this step was decreased to 1/10(6) of that of the native enzyme. The subsequent hydrolysis (deglycosylation) step was also severely affected by the replacement of Glu-358 with a cysteine residue, with the rate constant being depressed to 1/10(7) or less. Thus Cys-358 functions inefficiently in both the capacity of catalytic nucleophile and leaving group. On the basis of these results it seems unlikely that the role of the active-site nucleophile in retaining glycosidases could successfully be filled by a cysteine residue.