Structural insights into the dual activities of the nerve agent degrading organophosphate anhydrolase/prolidase

Biochemistry. 2010 Jan 26;49(3):547-59. doi: 10.1021/bi9011989.


The organophosphate acid anhydrolase (OPAA) is a member of a class of bimetalloenzymes that hydrolyze a variety of toxic acetylcholinesterase-inhibiting organophosphorus compounds, including fluorine-containing chemical nerve agents. It also belongs to a family of prolidases, with significant activity against various Xaa-Pro dipeptides. Here we report the X-ray structure determination of the native OPAA (58 kDa mass) from Alteromonas sp. strain JD6.5 and its cocrystal with the inhibitor mipafox [N,N'-diisopropyldiamidofluorophosphate (DDFP)], a close analogue of the nerve agent organophosphate substrate diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP). The OPAA structure is composed of two domains, amino and carboxy domains, with the latter exhibiting a "pita bread" architecture and harboring the active site with the binuclear Mn(2+) ions. The native OPAA structure revealed unexpectedly the presence of a well-defined nonproteinaceous density in the active site whose identity could not be definitively established but is suggestive of a bound glycolate, which is isosteric with a glycine (Xaa) product. All three glycolate oxygens coordinate the two Mn(2+) atoms. DDFP or more likely its hydrolysis product, N,N'-diisopropyldiamidophosphate (DDP), is present in the cocrystal structure and bound by coordinating the binuclear metals and forming hydrogen bonds and nonpolar interactions with active site residues. An unusual common feature of the binding of the two ligands is the involvement of only one oxygen atom of the glycolate carboxylate and the product DDP tetrahedral phosphate in bridging the two Mn(2+) ions. Both structures provide new understanding of ligand recognition and the prolidase and organophosphorus hydrolase catalytic activities of OPAA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alteromonas / enzymology
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase / chemistry*
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Catalysis
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / chemistry
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / metabolism*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Dipeptidases / chemistry*
  • Dipeptidases / metabolism*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Protein Conformation
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase
  • Dipeptidases
  • proline dipeptidase