Thomaeus A, Carlsson J, Aqvist J, Widersten M
Biochemistry 46 (9) 2466-2479 [2007-03-06; online 2007-02-07]
The carboxylate of Glu35 in the active site of potato epoxide hydrolase StEH1 interacts with the catalytic water molecule and is the first link in a chain of hydrogen bonds connecting the active site with bulk solvent. To probe its importance to catalysis, the carboxylate was replaced with an amide through an E35Q mutation. Comparing enzyme activities using the two trans-stilbene oxide (TSO) enantiomers as substrates revealed the reaction with R,R-TSO to be the one more severely affected by the E35Q mutation, as judged by determined kinetic parameters describing the pre-steady states or the steady states of the catalyzed reactions. The hydrolysis of S,S-TSO afforded by the E35Q mutant was comparable with that of the wild-type enzyme, with only a minor decrease in activity, or a change in pH dependencies of kcat, and the rate of alkylenzyme hydrolysis, k3. The pH dependence of E35Q-catalyzed hydrolysis of R,R-TSO, however, exhibited an inverted titration curve as compared to that of the wild-type enzyme, with a minimal catalytic rate at pH values where the wild-type enzyme exhibited maximum rates. To simulate the pH dependence of the E35Q mutant, a shift in the acidity of the alkylenzyme had to be invoked. The proposed decrease in the pKa of His300 in the E35Q mutant was supported by computer simulations of the active site electrostatics. Hence, Glu35 participates in activation of the Asp nucleophile, presumably by facilitating channeling of protons out of the active site, and during the hydrolysis half-reaction by orienting the catalytic water for optimal hydrogen bonding, to fine-tune the acid-base characteristics of the general base His300.