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1.  Structure-Guided Discovery of New Deaminase Enzymes 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2013;135(37):10.1021/ja4066078.
A substantial challenge for genomic enzymology is the reliable annotation for proteins of unknown function. Described here is an interrogation of uncharacterized enzymes from the amidohydrolase superfamily using a structure-guided approach that integrates bioinformatics, computational biology and molecular enzymology. Previously, Tm0936 from Thermotoga maritima was shown to catalyze the deamination of S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) to Sinosylhomocysteine (SIH). Homologues of Tm0936 homologues were identified, and substrate profiles were proposed by docking metabolites to modeled enzyme structures. These enzymes were predicted to deaminate analogues of adenosine including SAH, 5’-methylthioadenosine (MTA), adenosine (Ado), and 5’-deoxyadenosine (5’-dAdo). Fifteen of these proteins were purified to homogeneity and the three-dimensional structures of three proteins were determined by X-ray diffraction methods. Enzyme assays supported the structure-based predictions and identified subgroups of enzymes with the capacity to deaminate various combinations of the adenosine analogues, including the first enzyme (Dvu1825) capable of deaminating 5’-dAdo. One subgroup of proteins, exemplified by Moth1224 from Moorella thermoacetica, deaminates guanine to xanthine and another subgroup, exemplified by Avi5431 from Agrobacterium vitis S4, deaminates two oxidatively damaged forms of adenine: 2-oxoadenine and 8-oxoadenine. The sequence and structural basis of the observed substrate specificities was proposed and the substrate profiles for 834 protein sequences were provisionally annotated. The results highlight the power of a multidisciplinary approach for annotating enzymes of unknown function.
PMCID: PMC3827683  PMID: 23968233
2.  Prospecting for Unannotated Enzymes: Discovery of a 3′,5′-Nucleotide Bisphosphate Phosphatase within the Amidohydrolase Superfamily 
Biochemistry  2014;53(3):591-600.
In bacteria, 3′,5′-adenosine bisphosphate (pAp) is generated from 3′-phosphoadenosine 5′-phosphosulfate in the sulfate assimilation pathway, and from coenzyme A by the transfer of the phosphopantetheine group to the acyl-carrier protein. pAp is subsequently hydrolyzed to 5′-AMP and orthophosphate, and this reaction has been shown to be important for superoxide stress tolerance. Herein, we report the discovery of the first instance of an enzyme from the amidohydrolase superfamily that is capable of hydrolyzing pAp. Crystal structures of Cv1693 from Chromobacterium violaceum have been determined to a resolution of 1.9 Å with AMP and orthophosphate bound in the active site. The enzyme has a trinuclear metal center in the active site with three Mn2+ ions. This enzyme (Cv1693) belongs to the Cluster of Orthologous Groups cog0613 from the polymerase and histidinol phosphatase family of enzymes. The values of kcat and kcat/Km for the hydrolysis of pAp are 22 s–1 and 1.4 × 106 M–1 s–1, respectively. The enzyme is promiscuous and is able to hydrolyze other 3′,5′-bisphosphonucleotides (pGp, pCp, pUp, and pIp) and 2′-deoxynucleotides with comparable catalytic efficiency. The enzyme is capable of hydrolyzing short oligonucleotides (pdA)5, albeit at rates much lower than that of pAp. Enzymes from two other enzyme families have previously been found to hydrolyze pAp at physiologically significant rates. These enzymes include CysQ from Escherichia coli (cog1218) and YtqI/NrnA from Bacillus subtilis (cog0618). Identification of the functional homologues to the experimentally verified pAp phosphatases from cog0613, cog1218, and cog0618 suggests that there is relatively little overlap of enzymes with this function in sequenced bacterial genomes.
PMCID: PMC3985815  PMID: 24401123
3.  Discovery of a cAMP Deaminase That Quenches Cyclic AMP-Dependent Regulation 
ACS chemical biology  2013;8(12):10.1021/cb4004628.
An enzyme of unknown function within the amidohydrolase superfamily was discovered to catalyze the hydrolysis of the universal second messenger, cyclic-3’, 5’-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The enzyme, which we have named CadD, is encoded by the human pathogenic bacterium Leptospira interrogans. Although CadD is annotated as an adenosine deaminase, the protein specifically deaminates cAMP to cyclic-3’, 5’-inosine monophosphate (cIMP) with a kcat/Km of 2.7 ± 0.4 × 105 M−1 s−1 and has no activity on adenosine, adenine, or 5’-adenosine monophosphate (AMP). This is the first identification of a deaminase specific for cAMP. Expression of CadD in Escherichia coli mimics the loss of adenylate cyclase in that it blocks growth on carbon sources that require the cAMP-CRP transcriptional activator complex for expression of the cognate genes. The cIMP reaction product cannot replace cAMP as the ligand for CRP binding to DNA in vitro and cIMP is a very poor competitor of cAMP activation of CRP for DNA binding. Transcriptional analyses indicate that CadD expression represses expression of several cAMP-CRP dependent genes. CadD adds a new activity to the cAMP metabolic network and may be a useful tool in intracellular study of cAMP-dependent processes.
PMCID: PMC3880142  PMID: 24074367
4.  Discovery of a Cyclic Phosphodiesterase that Catalyzes the Sequential Hydrolysis of Both Ester Bonds to Phosphorus 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2013;135(44):10.1021/ja409376k.
The bacterial C-P lyase pathway is responsible for the metabolism of unactivated organophosphonates under conditions of phosphate starvation. The cleavage of the C-P bond within ribose-1-methylphosphonate-5-phosphate to form methane and 5-phosphoribose-1,2-cyclic phosphate (PRcP) is catalyzed by the radical SAM enzyme PhnJ. In Escherichia coli the cyclic phosphate product is hydrolyzed to ribose-1,5-bisphosphate by PhnP. In this study, we describe the discovery and characterization of an enzyme that can hydrolyze a cyclic phosphodiester directly to a vicinal diol and inorganic phosphate. With PRcP, this enzyme hydrolyzes the phosphate ester at carbon-1 of the ribose moiety to form ribose-2,5-bisphosphate, and then this intermediate is hydrolyzed to ribose-5-phosphate and inorganic phosphate. Ribose-1,5-bisphosphate is neither an intermediate nor substrate for this enzyme. Orthologs of this enzyme are found in the human pathogens Clostridium difficile and Eggerthella lenta. We propose that this enzyme be called cyclic phosphate dihydrolase (cPDH) and be designated as PhnPP.
PMCID: PMC3864833  PMID: 24147537
5.  Potent Inhibition of the C-P Lyase Nucleosidase PhnI by ImmucillinA-Triphosphate 
Biochemistry  2013;52(42):10.1021/bi4013287.
The C-P lyase complex in bacteria catalyzes the transformation of phosphonates to orthophosphate under conditions of phosphate starvation. The first committed step in the C-P lyase catalyzed reaction is the displacement of adenine from MgATP by phosphonate substrates to yield ribose-1-phosphonate-5-triphosphate (RPnTP). In the C-P lyase complex this reaction is catalyzed by the nucleosidase PhnI, and modulated by the addition of PhnG, PhnH and PhnL. Here we describe the synthesis of Immucillin-A triphosphate, a mimic of the transition state structure for the nucleosidase reaction catalyzed by PhnI. This compound inhibits PhnI with a dissociation constant of 20 nM at pH 7.5.
PMCID: PMC3838859  PMID: 24111876
6.  Deamination of 6-Aminodeoxyfutalosine in Menaquinone Biosynthesis by Distantly Related Enzymes 
Biochemistry  2013;52(37):10.1021/bi400750a.
Proteins of unknown function belonging to cog1816 and cog0402 were characterized. Sav2595 from Steptomyces avermitilis MA-4680, Acel0264 from Acidothermus cellulolyticus 11B, Nis0429 from Nitratiruptor sp. SB155-2 and Dr0824 from Deinococcus radiodurans R1 were cloned, purified, and their substrate profiles determined. These enzymes were previously incorrectly annotated as adenosine deaminases or chlorohydrolases. It was shown here that these enzymes actually deaminate 6-aminodeoxyfutalosine. The deamination of 6-aminodeoxyfutalosine is part of an alternative menaquinone biosynthetic pathway that involves the formation of futalosine. 6-Aminodeoxyfutalosine is deaminated by these enzymes with catalytic efficiencies greater than 105 M−1 s−1, Km values of 0.9 to 6.0 μM and kcat values of 1.2 to 8.6 s−1. Adenosine, 2′-deoxyadenosine, thiomethyladenosine, and S-adenosylhomocysteine are deaminated at least an order of magnitude slower than 6-aminodeoxyfutalosine. The crystal structure of Nis0429 was determined and the substrate, 6-aminodeoxyfutalosine, was positioned in the active site, based on the presence of adventitiously bound benzoic acid. In this model Ser-145 interacts with the carboxylate moiety of the substrate. The structure of Dr0824 was also determined, but a collapsed active site pocket prevented docking of substrates. A computational model of Sav2595 was built based on the crystal structure of adenosine deaminase and substrates were docked. The model predicted a conserved arginine after β-strand 1 to be partially responsible for the substrate specificity of Sav2595.
PMCID: PMC3813303  PMID: 23972005
7.  Molecular Engineering of Organophosphate Hydrolysis Activity from a Weak Promiscuous Lactonase Template 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2013;135(31):11670-11677.
Rapid evolution of enzymes provides unique molecular insights into the remarkable adaptability of proteins and helps to elucidate the relationship between amino acid sequence, structure and function. We interrogated the evolution of the phosphotriesterase from Pseudomonas diminuta (PdPTE), which hydrolyzes synthetic organophosphates with remarkable catalytic efficiency. PTE is thought to be an evolutionarily “young” enzyme and it has been postulated that it has evolved from members of the phosphotriesterase-like lactonase (PLL) family that show promiscuous organophosphate degrading activity. Starting from a weakly promiscuous PLL scaffold (Dr0930 from Deinococcus radiodurans), we designed an extremely efficient organophosphate hydrolase (OPH) with broad substrate specificity using rational and random mutagenesis in combination with in vitro activity screening. The OPH activity for seven organophosphate substrates was simultaneously enhanced by up to five orders of magnitude, achieving absolute values of catalytic efficiencies up to 106 M−1 s−1. Structural and computational analyses identified the molecular basis for the enhanced OPH activity of the engineered PLL variants and demonstrated that OPH catalysis in PdPTE and the engineered PLL differ significantly in the mode of substrate binding.
PMCID: PMC3786566  PMID: 23837603
8.  Enzymatic Neutralization of the Chemical Warfare Agent VX: Evolution of Phosphotriesterase for Phosphorothiolate Hydrolysis 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2013;135(28):10426-10432.
The V-type nerve agents (VX and VR) are among the most toxic substances known. The high toxicity and environmental persistence of VX makes the development of novel decontamination methods particularly important. The enzyme phosphotriesterase (PTE) is capable of hydrolyzing VX but with an enzymatic efficiency more than 5-orders of magnitude lower than with its best substrate, paraoxon. PTE has previously proven amenable to directed evolution for the improvement of catalytic activity against selected compounds through the manipulation of active site residues. Here, a series of sequential two-site mutational libraries encompassing twelve active site residues of PTE was created. The libraries were screened for catalytic activity against a new VX analogue (DEVX), which contains the same thiolate leaving group of VX coupled to a di-ethoxy phosphate core rather than the ethoxy, methylphosphonate core of VX. The evolved catalytic activity with DEVX was enhanced 26-fold relative to wildtype PTE. Further improvements were facilitated by targeted error-prone PCR mutagenesis of Loop-7 and additional PTE variants were identified with up to a 78-fold increase in the rate of DEVX hydrolysis. The best mutant hydrolyzed the racemic nerve agent VX with a value of kcat/Km of 7×104 M−1 s−1; a 230-fold improvement relative to the wild-type PTE. The highest turnover number achieved by the mutants created for this investigation was 137 s−1; an enhancement of 152-fold relative to wild-type PTE. The stereoselectivity for the hydrolysis of the two enantiomers of VX was relatively low. These engineered mutants of PTE are the best catalysts ever reported for the hydrolysis of nerve agent VX.
PMCID: PMC3747228  PMID: 23789980
9.  Structural and Mechanistic Characterization of L-Histidinol Phosphate Phosphatase from the PHP Family of Proteins 
Biochemistry  2013;52(6):1101-1112.
l-Histidinol phosphate phosphatase (HPP) catalyzes the hydrolysis of L-histidinol phosphate to L-histidinol and inorganic phosphate, the penultimate step in the biosynthesis of L-histidine. HPP from the polymerase and histidinol phosphatase (PHP) family of proteins possesses a trinuclear active site and a distorted (β/α)7-barrel protein fold. This group of enzymes is closely related to the amidohydrolase superfamily of enzymes. The mechanism of phosphomonoester bond hydrolysis by the PHP family of HPP enzymes was addressed. Recombinant HPP from Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis that was expressed in Escherichia coli contained a mixture of iron and zinc in the active site and had a catalytic efficiency of ~103 M−1 s−1. Expression of the protein under iron-free conditions resulted in the production of enzyme with a two orders of magnitude improvement in catalytic efficiency and a mixture of zinc and manganese in the active site. Solvent isotope and viscosity effects demonstrated that proton transfer steps and product dissociation steps are not rate-limiting. X-ray structures of HPP were determined with sulfate, L-histidinol/phosphate, and a complex of L-histidinol and arsenate bound in the active site. These crystal structures and the catalytic properties of variants were used to identify the structural elements required for catalysis and substrate recognition by the HPP family of enzymes within the amidohydrolase superfamily.
PMCID: PMC3570733  PMID: 23327428
10.  The Assignment of Pterin Deaminase Activity to an Enzyme of Unknown Function Guided by Homology Modeling and Docking† 
Of the over 22 million protein sequences in the nonredundant TrEMBL database, fewer than 1% have experimentally confirmed functions. Structure-based methods have been used to predict enzyme activities from experimentally determined structures; however, for the vast majority of proteins, no such structures are available. Here, homology models of a functionally uncharacterized amidohydrolase from Agrobacterium radiobacter K84 (Arad3529) were computed based on a remote template structure. The protein backbone of two loops near the active site was remodeled, resulting in four distinct active site conformations. Substrates of Arad3529 were predicted by docking of 57672 high-energy intermediate (HEI) forms of 6440 metabolites against these four homology models. Based on docking ranks and geometries, a set of modified pterins were suggested as candidate substrates for Arad3529. The predictions were tested by enzymology experiments, and Arad3529 deaminated many pterin metabolites (substrate, kcat/Km [M−1s−1]): formylpterin, 5.2 × 106; pterin-6-carboxylate, 4.0 × 106; pterin-7-carboxylate, 3.7 × 106; pterin, 3.3 × 106; hydroxymethylpterin, 1.2 × 106; biopterin, 1.0 × 106; D-(+)-neopterin, 3.1 × 105; isoxanthopterin, 2.8 × 105; sepiapterin, 1.3 × 105; folate, 1.3 × 105, xanthopterin, 1.17 × 105; 7,8-dihydrohydroxymethylpterin, 3.3 × 104. While pterin is a ubiquitous oxidative product of folate degradation, genomic analysis suggests that the first step of an undescribed pterin degradation pathway is catalyzed by Arad3529. Homology model-based virtual screening, especially with modeling of protein backbone flexibility, may be broadly useful for enzyme function annotation and discovering new pathways and drug targets.
PMCID: PMC3557803  PMID: 23256477
11.  Discovery of an L-Fucono-1,5-Lactonase from cog3618 of the Amidohydrolase Superfamily 
Biochemistry  2012;52(1):239-253.
A member of the amidohydrolase superfamily, BmulJ_04915 from Burkholderia multivorans, of unknown function was determined to hydrolyze a series of sugar lactones: L-fucono-1,4-lactone, D-arabino-1,4-lactone, L-xylono-1,4-lactone, D-lyxono-1,4-lactone and L-galactono-1,4-lactone. The highest activity was shown for L-fucono-1,4-lactone with a kcat value of 140 s−1 and a kcat/Km value of 1.0 × 105 M−1 s−1 at pH 8.3. The enzymatic product of an adjacent L-fucose dehydrogenase, BmulJ_04919, was shown to be L-fucono-1,5-lactone, via NMR spectroscopy. L-fucono-1,5-lactone is unstable and rapidly converts non-enzymatically to L-fucono-1,4-lactone. Due to the chemical instability of L-fucono-1,5-lactone, 4-deoxy-L-fucono-1,5-lactone was enzymatically synthesized from 4-deoxy-L-fucose using L-fucose dehydrogenase. BmulJ_04915 hydrolyzed 4-deoxy-L-fucono-1,5-lactone with a kcat value of 990 s−1 and a kcat/Km value of 8.0 × 106 M−1 s−1 at pH 7.1. The protein does not require divalent cations in the active site for catalytic activity. BmulJ_04915 is the second enzyme from cog3618 of the amidohydrolase superfamily that does not require a divalent metal for catalytic activity. BmulJ_04915 is the first enzyme that has been shown to catalyze the hydrolysis of either L-fucono-1,4-lactone or L-fucono-1,5-lactone. The structures of the fuconolactonase and the fucose dehydrogenase were determined by X-ray diffraction methods.
PMCID: PMC3542637  PMID: 23214453
12.  Functional Annotation and Three-Dimensional Structure of an Incorrectly Annotated Dihydroorotase from cog3964 in the Amidohydrolase Superfamily 
Biochemistry  2012;52(1):228-238.
The substrate specificities of two incorrectly annotated enzymes belonging to cog3964 from the amidohydrolase superfamily (AHS) were determined. This group of enzymes is currently misannotated as either dihydroorotase or adenine deaminase. Atu3266 from Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 and Oant2987 from Ochrobactrum anthropi ATCC 49188 were determined to catalyze the hydrolysis of acetyl-R-mandelate and similar esters with values of kcat/Km that exceed 105 M−1 s−1. These enzymes do not catalyze the deamination of adenine or the hydrolysis of dihydroorotate. Atu3266 was crystallized and the structure determined to a resolution of 2.62 Å. The protein folds as a distorted (β/α)8-barrel and binds two zincs in the active site. The substrate profile was determined via a combination of computational docking to the three-dimensional structure of Atu3266 and screening of a highly focused library of potential substrates. The initial weak hit was the hydrolysis of N-acetyl-D-serine (kcat/Km = 4 M−1s−1). This was followed by the progressive identification of acetyl-R-glycerate (4 × 102 M−1s−1), acetyl glycolate (kcat/Km = 1.3 × 104 M−1 s−1) and ultimately acetyl-R-mandelate (kcat/Km =2.8 × 105 M−1 s−1).
PMCID: PMC3542638  PMID: 23214420
13.  Catalytic Mechanisms for Phosphotriesterases 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2012;1834(1):443-453.
Phosphotriesters are one class of highly toxic synthetic compounds known as organophosphates. Wide spread usage of organophosphates as insecticides as well as nerve agents has lead to numerous efforts to identify enzymes capable of detoxifying them. A wide array of enzymes has been found to have phosphotriesterase activity including phosphotriesterase (PTE), methyl parathion hydrolase (MPH), organophosphorus acid anhydrolase (OPAA), diisopropylfluorophosphatase (DFP), and paraoxonase 1 (PON1). These enzymes differ widely in protein sequence and three-dimensional structure, as well as in catalytic mechanism, but they also share several common features. All of the enzymes identified as phosphotriesterases are metal-dependent hydrolases that contain a hydrophobic active site with three discrete binding pockets to accommodate the substrate ester groups. Activation of the substrate phosphorus center is achieved by a direct interaction between the phosphoryl oxygen and a divalent metal in the active site. The mechanistic details of the hydrolytic reaction differ among the various enzymes with both direct attack of a hydroxide as well as covalent catalysis being found.
PMCID: PMC3421070  PMID: 22561533
14.  Enzymes for the Homeland Defense: Optimizing Phosphotriesterase for the Hydrolysis of Organophosphate Nerve Agents† 
Biochemistry  2012;51(32):6463-6475.
Phosphotriesterase (PTE) from soil bacteria is known for its ability to catalyze the detoxification of organophosphate pesticides and chemical warfare agents. Most of the organophosphate chemical warfare agents are a mixture of two stereoisomers at the phosphorus center and the SP-enantiomers are significantly more toxic than the RP-enantiomers. In previous investigations PTE variants were created through the manipulation of the substrate binding pockets and these mutants were shown to have greater catalytic activities for the detoxification of the more toxic SP-enantiomers of nerve agent analogs for GB, GD, GF, VX, and VR than the less toxic RP-enantiomers. In this investigation alternate strategies were employed to discover additional PTE variants with significant improvements in catalytic activities relative to the wild type enzyme. Screening and selection techniques were utilized to isolate PTE variants from randomized libraries and site specific modifications. The catalytic activities of these newly identified PTE variants towards the SP-enantiomers of chromophoric analogs of GB, GD, GF, VX, and VR have been improved up to 15,000 fold relative to the wild-type enzyme. The X-ray crystal structures of the best PTE variants were determined. Characterization of these mutants with the authentic G-type nerve agents has confirmed the expected improvements in catalytic activity against the most toxic enantiomers of GB, GD, and GF. The values of kcat/Km for the H257Y/L303T (YT) mutant for the hydrolysis of GB, GD, and GF were determined to be 2 × 106 M−1 s−1, 5 × 105 M−1 s−1, and 8 × 105 M−1 s−1, respectively. The YT mutant is the most proficient enzyme reported thus far for the detoxification of G-type nerve agents. These results support a combinatorial strategy of rational design and directed evolution as a powerful tool to discover more efficient enzymes for the detoxification of organophosphate nerve agents.
PMCID: PMC3447986  PMID: 22809162
15.  Structure and Catalytic Mechanism of LigI: Insight into the Amidohydrolase Enzymes of cog3618 and Lignin Degradation† 
Biochemistry  2012;51(16):3497-3507.
LigI from Sphingomonas paucimobilis catalyzes the reversible hydrolysis of 2-pyrone-4,6-dicarboxylate (PDC) to 4-oxalomesaconate (OMA) and 4-carboxy-2-hydroxymuconate (CHM) in the degradation of lignin. This protein is a member of the amidohydrolase superfamily of enzymes. The protein was expressed in E. coli and then purified to homogeneity. The purified recombinant enzyme does not contain bound metal ions and the addition of metal chelators or divalent metal ions to the assay mixtures does not affect the rate of product formation. This is the first enzyme from the amidohydrolase superfamily that does not require a divalent metal ion for catalytic activity. The kinetic constants for the hydrolysis of PDC are 340 s−1 and 9.8 × 106 M−1s−1 for the values of kcat, and kcat/Km respectively. The pH dependence on the kinetic constants suggests that a single active site residue must be deprotonated for the hydrolysis of PDC. The site of nucleophilic attack was determined by conducting the hydrolysis of PDC in 18O-labeled water and subsequent 13C NMR analysis. The crystal structures of wild-type LigI and the D248A mutant in the presence of the reaction product were determined to a resolution of 1.9 Å. The C-8 and C-11 carboxylate groups of PDC are coordinated within the active site via ion pair interactions with Arg-130 and Arg-124, respectively. The hydrolytic water molecule is activated by a proton transfer to Asp-248. The carbonyl group of the lactone substrate is activated by electrostatic interactions with His-180, His-31 and His-33.
PMCID: PMC3416963  PMID: 22475079
16.  Structure-Based Function Discovery of an Enzyme for the Hydrolysis of Phosphorylated Sugar Lactones 
Biochemistry  2012;51(8):1762-1773.
Two enzymes of unknown function from the cog1735 subset of the amidohydrolase superfamily (AHS), LMOf2365_2620 (Lmo2620) from Listeria monocytogenes str. 4b F2365 and Bh0225 from Bacillus halodurans C-125, were cloned, expressed and purified to homogeneity. The catalytic functions of these two enzymes were interrogated by an integrated strategy encompassing bioinformatics, computational docking to three-dimensional crystal structures, and library screening. The three-dimensional structure of Lmo2620 was determined at a resolution of 1.6 Å with two phosphates and a binuclear zinc center in the active site. The proximal phosphate bridges the binuclear metal center and is 7.1 Å away from the distal phosphate. The distal phosphate hydrogen bonds with Lys-242, Lys-244, Arg-275 and Tyr-278. Enzymes within cog1735 of the AHS have previously been shown to catalyze the hydrolysis of substituted lactones. Computational docking of the high energy intermediate (HEI) form of the KEGG database to the three-dimensional structure of Lmo2620 highly enriched anionic lactones versus other candidate substrates. The active site structure and the computational docking results suggested that probable substrates would likely include phosphorylated sugar lactones. A small library of diacid sugar lactones and phosphorylated sugar lactones was synthesized and tested for substrate activity with Lmo2620 and Bh0225. Two substrates were identified for these enzymes, d-lyxono-1,4-lactone-5-phosphate and l-ribono-1,4-lactone-5-phosphate. The kcat/Km values for the cobalt-substituted enzymes with these substrates are ~105 M−1 s−1.
PMCID: PMC3298459  PMID: 22313111
17.  The Enzyme Function Initiative† 
Biochemistry  2011;50(46):9950-9962.
The Enzyme Function Initiative (EFI) was recently established to address the challenge of assigning reliable functions to enzymes discovered in bacterial genome projects; in this Current Topic we review the structure and operations of the EFI. The EFI includes the Superfamily/Genome, Protein, Structure, Computation, and Data/Dissemination Cores that provide the infrastructure for reliably predicting the in vitro functions of unknown enzymes. The initial targets for functional assignment are selected from five functionally diverse superfamilies (amidohydrolase, enolase, glutathione transferase, haloalkanoic acid dehalogenase, and isoprenoid synthase), with five superfamily-specific Bridging Projects experimentally testing the predicted in vitro enzymatic activities. The EFI also includes the Microbiology Core that evaluates the in vivo context of in vitro enzymatic functions and confirms the functional predictions of the EFI. The deliverables of the EFI to the scientific community include: 1) development of a large-scale, multidisciplinary sequence/structure-based strategy for functional assignment of unknown enzymes discovered in genome projects (target selection, protein production, structure determination, computation, experimental enzymology, microbiology, and structure-based annotation); 2) dissemination of the strategy to the community via publications, collaborations, workshops, and symposia; 3) computational and bioinformatic tools for using the strategy; 4) provision of experimental protocols and/or reagents for enzyme production and characterization; and 5) dissemination of data via the EFI’s website, The realization of multidisciplinary strategies for functional assignment will begin to define the full metabolic diversity that exists in nature and will impact basic biochemical and evolutionary understanding, as well as a wide range of applications of central importance to industrial, medicinal and pharmaceutical efforts.
PMCID: PMC3238057  PMID: 21999478
18.  Discovery of a Cytokinin Deaminase† 
ACS chemical biology  2011;6(10):1036-1040.
An enzyme of unknown function within the amidohydrolase superfamily was discovered to catalyze the hydrolysis of N-6-substituted adenine derivatives, several of which are cytokinins. Cytokinins are a common type of plant hormone and N-6-substituted adenines are also found as modifications to tRNA. Patl2390, from Pseudoalteromonas atlantica T6c, was shown to hydrolytically deaminate N-6-isopentenyladenine to hypoxanthine and isopentenylamine with a kcat/Km of 1.2 × 107 M−1 s−1. Additional substrates include N-6-benzyl adenine, cis- and trans-zeatin, kinetin, O-6-methylguanine, N-6-butyladenine, N-6-methyladenine, N,N-dimethyladenine, 6-methoxypurine, 6-chloropurine, and 6-thiomethylpurine. This enzyme does not catalyze the deamination of adenine or adenosine. A comparative model of Patl2390 was computed using the three-dimensional crystal structure of Pa0148 (PDB code: 3PAO) as a structural template and docking was used to refine the model to accommodate experimentally identified substrates. This is the first identification of an enzyme that will hydrolyze an N-6 substituted side chain larger than methylamine from adenine.
PMCID: PMC3199332  PMID: 21823622
19.  Pa0148 from Pseudomonas aeruginosa Catalyzes the Deamination of Adenine† 
Biochemistry  2011;50(30):6589-6597.
Four proteins from NCBI cog1816, previously annotated as adenosine deaminases, have been subjected to structural and functional characterization. Pa0148 (Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1), AAur1117 (Arthrobacter aurescens TC1), Sgx9403e, and Sgx9403g, have been purified and their substrate profiles determined. Adenosine is not a substrate for any of these enzymes. All of these proteins will deaminate adenine to produce hypoxanthine with values of kcat/Km that exceed 105 M−1s−1. These enzymes will also accept 6-chloropurine, 6-methoxypurine, N-6-methyladenine, and 2,6-diaminopurine as alternate substrates. X-ray structures of Pa0148 and AAur1117 have been determined and reveal nearly identical distorted (β/α)8-barrels with a single zinc ion that is characteristic of members of the amidohydrolase superfamily. Structures of Pa0148 with adenine, 6-chloropurine and hypoxanthine were also determined thereby permitting identification of the residues responsible for coordinating the substrate and product.
PMCID: PMC3151671  PMID: 21710971
20.  Rescue of the Orphan Enzyme Isoguanine Deaminase 
Biochemistry  2011;50(25):5555-5557.
Cytosine deaminase (CDA) from Escherichia coli was shown to catalyze the deamination of isoguanine (2-oxoadenine) to xanthine. Isoguanine is an oxidation product of adenine in DNA that is mutagenic to the cell. The isoguanine deaminase activity in E. coli was partially purified by ammonium sulfate fractionation, gel filtration and anion exchange chromatography. The active protein was identified by peptide mass fingerprint analysis as cytosine deaminase. The kinetic constants for the deamination of isoguanine at pH 7.7 are kcat = 49 s-1, Km = 72 μM, and kcat/Km = 6.7 × 105 M-1 s-1. The kinetic constant for the deamination of cytosine are kcat = 45 s-1, Km = 302 μM, and kcat/Km = 1.5 × 105 M-1 s-1. Under these reaction conditions isoguanine is the better substrate for cytosine deaminase. The three dimensional structure of CDA was determined with isoguanine in the active site.
PMCID: PMC3138507  PMID: 21604715
orphan enzymes; isoguanine deaminase
21.  Intermediates in the Transformation of Phosphonates to Phosphate by Bacteria 
Nature  2011;480(7378):570-573.
PMCID: PMC3245791  PMID: 22089136
22.  The Three-Dimensional Structure and Catalytic Mechanism of Cytosine Deaminase† 
Biochemistry  2011;50(22):5077-5085.
Cytosine deaminase (CDA) from E. coli is a member of the amidohydrolase superfamily. The structure of the zinc-activated enzyme was determined in the presence of phosphonocytosine, a mimic of the tetrahedral reaction intermediate. This compound inhibits the deamination of cytosine with a Ki of 52 nM. The zinc and iron containing enzymes were characterized to determine the effect of the divalent cations on activation of the hydrolytic water. Fe-CDA loses activity at low pH with a kinetic pKa of 6.0 and Zn-CDA has a kinetic pKa of 7.3. Mutation of Gln-156 decreased the catalytic activity by more than 5 orders of magnitude, supporting its role in substrate binding. Mutation of Glu-217, Asp-313, and His-246 significantly decreased catalytic activity supporting the role of these three residues in activation of the hydrolytic water molecule and facilitation of proton transfer reactions. A library of potential substrates was used to probe the structural determinants responsible for catalytic activity. CDA was able to catalyze the deamination of isocytosine and the hydrolysis of 3-oxauracil. Large inverse solvent isotope effects were obtained on kcat and kcat/Km, consistent with the formation of a low-barrier hydrogen bond during the conversion of cytosine to uracil. A chemical mechanism for substrate deamination by CDA was proposed.
PMCID: PMC3107989  PMID: 21545144
23.  Catalytic Mechanism and Three-Dimensional Structure of Adenine Deaminase† 
Biochemistry  2011;50(11):1917-1927.
Adenine deaminase (ADE) catalyzes the conversion of adenine to hypoxanthine and ammonia. The enzyme isolated from Escherichia coli using standard expression conditions was low for the deamination of adenine (kcat = 2.0 s−1; kcat/Km = 2.5 × 103 M−1 s−1). However, when iron was sequestered with a metal chelator and the growth medium was supplemented with Mn2+ prior to induction, the purified enzyme was substantially more active for the deamination of adenine with values of kcat and kcat/Km of 200 s−1 and 5 × 105 M−1s−1, respectively. The apo-enzyme was prepared and reconstituted with Fe2+, Zn2+, or Mn2+. In each case, two enzyme-equivalents of metal were necessary for reconstitution of the deaminase activity. This work provides the first example of any member within the deaminase sub-family of the amidohydrolase superfamily (AHS) to utilize a binuclear metal center for the catalysis of a deamination reaction. [FeII/FeII]-ADE was oxidized to [FeIII/FeIII]-ADE with ferricyanide with inactivation of the deaminase activity. Reducing [FeIII/FeIII]-ADE with dithionite restored the deaminase activity and thus the di-ferrous form of the enzyme is essential for catalytic activity. No evidence for spin-coupling between metal ions was evident by EPR or Mössbauer spectroscopies. The three-dimensional structure of adenine deaminase from Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Atu4426) was determined by X-ray crystallography at 2.2 Å resolution and adenine was modeled into the active site based on homology to other members of the amidohydrolase superfamily. Based on the model of the adenine-ADE complex and subsequent mutagenesis experiments, the roles for each of the highly conserved residues were proposed. Solvent isotope effects, pH rate profiles and solvent viscosity were utilized to propose a chemical reaction mechanism and the identity of the rate limiting steps.
PMCID: PMC3059353  PMID: 21247091
24.  Enzymatic Deamination of the Epigenetic Base N-6-Methyladenine 
Two enzymes of unknown function from the amidohydrolase superfamily were discovered to catalyze the deamination of N-6-methyladenine to hypoxanthine and methyl amine. The methylation of adenine in bacterial DNA is a common modification for the protection of host DNA against restriction endonucleases. The enzyme from Bacillus halodurans, Bh0637, catalyzes the deamination of N-6-methyladenine with a kcat of 185 s−1 and a kcat/Km of 2.5 × 106 M−1 s−1. Bh0637 catalyzes the deamination of N-6-methyladenine two orders of magnitude faster than adenine. A comparative model of Bh0637 was computed using the three-dimensional structure of Atu4426 (PDB code: 3NQB) as a structural template and computational docking was used to rationalize the preferential utilization of N-6-methyladenine over adenine. This is the first identification of an N-6-methyladenine deaminase (6-MAD).
PMCID: PMC3043370  PMID: 21275375
25.  A common catalytic mechanism for proteins of HutI family† 
Biochemistry  2008;47(20):5608-5615.
Imidazolonepropionase (HutI) (imidazolone-5-propanote hydrolase; EC is a member of amidohydrolase superfamily and catalyzes the conversion of imidazolone-5-propanoate to N-formimino -L-glutamate in the histidine degradation pathway. We have determined the three dimensional crystal structures of HutI from A. tumefaciens (At-HutI) and an environmental sample from the Sargasso Sea Ocean Going Survey (Es-HutI) bound to the product [N-formimino-L-glutamate (NIG)] and an inhibitor [3-(2,5-dioxoimidazolidin-4yl)-propionic acid (DIP), respectively. In both structures the active site is contained within each monomer and its organization displays the landmark feature of amidohydrolase superfamily showing a metal ligand (iron), four histidines and one aspartic acid. A catalytic mechanism involving His265 is proposed based on the inhibitor bound structure. This mechanism is applicable to all HutI.
PMCID: PMC3232013  PMID: 18442260
AHS; amidohydrolases; NIG; DIP; At-HutI; Es-HutI

Results 1-25 (47)