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. 2005 Jan 21;345(3):501-12.
doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2004.10.035.

Role of the N Terminus in Enzyme Activity, Stability and Specificity in Thermophilic Esterases Belonging to the HSL Family


Role of the N Terminus in Enzyme Activity, Stability and Specificity in Thermophilic Esterases Belonging to the HSL Family

Luigi Mandrich et al. J Mol Biol. .


A superposition between the structures of Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius esterase 2 (EST2) and Burkholderia cepacia lipase, the latter complexed with a phosphonate inhibitor, allowed us to hypothesize for the EST2 N terminus a role in restricting the access to the active site and therefore in modulating substrate specificity. In order to test this hypothesis we generated by site-directed mutagenesis some truncated versions of EST2 and its double mutant M211S/R215L (S/L) at the N terminus. In parallel, an analysis of the Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 genome allowed us to identify a gene coding for a putative esterase of the HSL family having a natural deletion of the corresponding region. The product of this gene and the above-mentioned EST2 mutants were expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and characterised. These studies support the notion that the N terminus affects substrate specificity other than several other enzyme parameters. Although the deletions afforded a tenfold and 550-fold decrease in catalytic efficiency towards the best substrate pNP-hexanoate at 50 degrees C for EST2 and S/L, respectively, the analysis of the specific activities with different triacylglycerols with respect to pNP-hexanoate showed that their ratios were higher for deleted versus non-deleted enzymes, on all tested substrates. In particular, the above ratios for glyceryl tridecanoate were 30-fold and 14-fold higher in S/L and EST2 deleted forms, respectively, compared with their full-length versions. This behaviour was confirmed by the analysis of the S.solfataricus esterase, which showed similar specific activities on pNP-hexanoate and triacylglycerols; in addition, higher activities on the latter substrates were observed in comparison with EST2, S/L and their deleted forms. Finally, a dramatic effect on thermophilicity and thermostability in the EST2 deleted forms was observed. This is the first report highlighting the importance of the "cap" domain in the HSL family, since the N terminus partly contributes to the building up of this structure.

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