Sprang, S. R., Fletterick, R. J., Gráf, L., Rutter, W. J. & Craik, C. S.

Studies of specificity and catalysis in trypsin by structural analysis of site-directed mutants.

Crit Rev Biotechnol 8, 225-36.

We are probing the determinants of catalytic function and substrate specificity in serine proteases by kinetic and crystallographic characterization of genetically engineered site-directed mutants of rat trypsin. The role of the aspartyl residue at position 102, common to all members of the serine protease family, has been tested by substitution with asparagine. In the native enzyme, Asp102 accepts a hydrogen bond from the catalytic base His57, which facilitates the transfer of a proton from the enzyme nucleophile Ser195 to the substrate leaving group. At neutral pH, the mutant is four orders of magnitude less active than the naturally occurring enzyme, but its binding affinity for model substrates is virtually undiminished. Crystallographic analysis reveals that Asn102 donates a hydrogen bond to His57, forcing it to act as donor to Ser195. Below pH 6, His57 becomes statistically disordered. Presumably, the di-protonated population of histidyl side chains are unable to hydrogen bond to Asn102. Steric conflict may cause His57 to rotate away from the catalytic site. These results suggest that Asp102 not only provides inductive and orientation effects, but also stabilizes the productive tautomer of His57. Three experiments were carried out to alter the substrate specificity of trypsin. Glycine residues at positions 216 and 226 in the substrate-binding cavity were replaced by alanine residues in order to differentially affect lysine and arginine substrate binding. While the rate of catalysis by the mutant enzymes was reduced in the mutant enzymes, their substrate specificity was enhanced relative to trypsin. The increased specificity was caused by differential effects on the catalytic activity towards arginine and lysine substrates. The Gly----Ala substitution at 226 resulted in an altered conformation of the enzyme which is converted to an active trypsin-like conformation upon binding of a substrate analog. In a third experiment, Lys189, at the bottom of the specificity pocket, was replaced with an aspartate with the expectation that specificity of the enzyme might shift to aspartate. The mutant enzyme is not capable of cleaving at Arg and Lys or Asp, but shows an enhanced chymotrypsin-like specificity. Structural investigations of these mutants are in progress.

Hegyi, G., Szilágyi, L. & Belágyi, J.

Influence of the bound nucleotide on the molecular dynamics of actin.

Eur J Biochem 175, 271-4.

Rotational dynamics of actin spin-labelled with maleimide probes at the reactive thiol Cys-374 were studied. Replacement of the bound nucleotide by Br8ATP in G-actin and Br8ADP in F-actin causes significant increase of the rotational correlation time of the spin probe, indicating reduced motion in both G and F-actin. The orientation dependence of the electron paramagnetic resonance spectra in oriented F-actin filaments revealed an altered molecular order of the probe when the nucleotide was a Br-substituted one. The bound nucleotide affects the myosin S1 ATPase activation by actin; both Vmax and K(actin) decreased significantly when the bound nucleotide of actin was Br8ADP.

Gráf, L., Jancsó, A., Szilágyi, L., Hegyi, G., Pintér, K., Náray-Szabó, G., Hepp, J., Medzihradszky, K. & Rutter, W. J.

Electrostatic complementarity within the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 85, 4961-5.

The aspartic residue (Asp-189) at the base of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin was replaced by serine (present in a similar position in chymotrypsin) through site-directed mutagenesis. The wild-type (with Asp-189 in the mature trypsin sequence) and mutant (Ser-189) trypsinogens were expressed in Escherichia coli, purified to homogeneity, activated by enterokinase, and tested with a series of fluorogenic tetrapeptide substrates with the general formula succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-Xaa-AMC, where AMC is 7-amino-4-methyl-coumarin and Xaa is Lys, Arg, Tyr, Phe, Leu, or Trp. As compared to [Asp189]trypsin, the activity of [Ser189]trypsin on lysyl and arginyl substrates decreased by about 5 orders of magnitude while its Km values increased only 2- to 6-fold. In contrast, [Ser189]trypsin was 10-50 times more active on the less preferred, chymotrypsin-type substrates (tyrosyl, phenylalanyl, leucyl, and tryptophanyl). The activity of [Ser189]trypsin on lysyl substrate was about 100-fold greater at pH 10.5 than at pH 7.0, indicating that the unprotonated lysine is preferred. Assuming the reaction mechanisms of the wild-type and mutant enzymes to be the same, we calculated the changes in the transition-state energies for various enzyme-substrate pairs to reflect electrostatic and hydrogen-bond interactions. The relative binding energies (E) in the transition state are as follows: EII greater than EPP greater than EPA greater than EIP approximately equal to EIA, where I = ionic, P = nonionic but polar, and A = apolar residues in the binding pocket. These side-chain interactions become prominent during the transition of the Michaelis complex to the tetrahedral transition-state complex.

Gráf, L., Hegyi, G., Likó, I., Hepp, J., Medzihradszky, K., Craik, C. S. & Rutter, W. J.

Structural and functional integrity of specificity and catalytic sites of trypsin.

Int J Pept Protein Res 32, 512-8.

The aspartic acid residue at the bottom of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin was replaced by glutamic acid through site-directed mutagenesis. The wild-type (Asp-189) and mutant (Glu-189) trypsinogens were expressed in E. coli, purified to homogeneity, activated by enterokinase, and tested on a series of fluorogenic tetrapeptide substrates. The substrates were of the general formula succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-X-AMC, where AMC is 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin and X is Lys, Arg, or Orn (ornithine). As compared to Asp-189 trypsin, the activity of Glu-189 trypsin on lysyl and arginyl substrates decreased by 3-4 orders of magnitude while its Km values did not significantly change. Lengthening the side-chain of Asp-189 by one methylene group could not be compensated for by shortening the side-chain of the substrate, since Glu-189 trypsin had no measurable activity on the ornithyl substrate. The replacement of Asp-189 with glutamic acid at the base of the substrate-binding pocket of trypsin appears to distort the structure of the critical transition-state complex. This could happen by disrupting interactions normally associated with Asp-189, and by altering the relative position of the scissile peptide bond in the active site of the enzyme.

Gráf, L., Boldogh, I., Szilágyi, L. and Rutter, W.J.

Redesigning the substrate specificity of trypsin: can trypsin be converted to a chymotrypsin-like protease?

In Protein Structure-Function (Zaidi, Z. H., Abbasi, A. and Smith, D.L., ed.), pp. 49-55. TWEL Publishers, Karachi, New York and London.

Gráf, L.

The biochemistry of neuropeptides.

In The basis of neurochemistry (Magyar, K. a. V., E.S., ed.), pp. 284-319. Medicina, Budapest.