ABSTRACT: The active sites of enzymes are lined with side chains whose dynamic, geometric, and chemical properties have been finely tuned relative to the corresponding residues in water. For example, the carboxylates of glutamate and aspartate are weakly basic in water but become strongly basic when dehydrated in enzymatic sites. The dehydration of the carboxylate, although intrinsically thermodynamically unfavorable, is achieved by harnessing the free energy of folding and substrate binding to reach the required basicity. Allosterically regulated enzymes additionally rely on the free energy of ligand binding to stabilize the protein in a catalytically competent state. We demonstrate the interplay of protein folding energetics and functional group tuning to convert calmodulin (CaM), a regulatory binding protein, into AlleyCat, an allosterically controlled eliminase. Upon binding Ca(II), native CaM opens a hydrophobic pocket on each of its domains. We computationally identified a mutant that (i) accommodates carboxylate as a general base within these pockets, (ii) interacts productively in the Michaelis complex with the substrate, and (iii) stabilizes the transition state for the reaction. Remarkably, a single mutation of an apolar residue at the bottom of an otherwise hydrophobic cavity confers catalytic activity on calmodulin. AlleyCat showed the expected pH-rate profile, and it was inactivated by mutation of its active site Glu to Gln. A variety of control mutants demonstrated the specificity of the design. The activity of this minimal 75-residue allosterically regulated catalyst is similar to that obtained using more elaborate computational approaches to redesign complex enzymes to catalyze the Kemp elimination reaction.
Project description:Although de novo computational enzyme design has been shown to be feasible, the field is still in its infancy: the kinetic parameters of designed enzymes are still orders of magnitude lower than those of naturally occurring ones. Nonetheless, designed enzymes can be improved by directed evolution, as recently exemplified for the designed Kemp eliminase KE07. Random mutagenesis and screening resulted in variants with >200-fold higher catalytic efficiency and provided insights about features missing in the designed enzyme. Here we describe the optimization of KE70, another designed Kemp eliminase. Amino acid substitutions predicted to improve catalysis in design calculations involving extensive backbone sampling were individually tested. Those proven beneficial were combinatorially incorporated into the originally designed KE70 along with random mutations, and the resulting libraries were screened for improved eliminase activity. Nine rounds of mutation and selection resulted in >400-fold improvement in the catalytic efficiency of the original KE70 design, reflected in both higher k(cat) values and lower K(m) values, with the best variants exhibiting k(cat)/K(m) values of >5×10(4) s(-)(1) M(-1). The optimized KE70 variants were characterized structurally and biochemically, providing insights into the origins of the improvements in catalysis. Three primary contributions were identified: first, the reshaping of the active-site cavity to achieve tighter substrate binding; second, the fine-tuning of electrostatics around the catalytic His-Asp dyad; and, third, the stabilization of the active-site dyad in a conformation optimal for catalysis.
Project description:Kemp eliminases represent the most successful class of computationally designed enzymes, with rate accelerations of up to 109-fold relative to the rate of the same reaction in aqueous solution. Nevertheless, several other systems such as micelles, catalytic antibodies, and cavitands are known to accelerate the Kemp elimination by several orders of magnitude. We found that the naturally occurring enzyme ketosteroid isomerase (KSI) also catalyzes the Kemp elimination. Surprisingly, mutations of D38, the residue that acts as a general base for its natural substrate, produced variants that catalyze the Kemp elimination up to 7000-fold better than wild-type KSI does, and some of these variants accelerate the Kemp elimination more than the computationally designed Kemp eliminases. Analysis of the D38N general base KSI variant suggests that a different active site carboxylate residue, D99, performs the proton abstraction. Docking simulations and analysis of inhibition by active site binders suggest that the Kemp elimination takes place in the active site of KSI and that KSI uses the same catalytic strategies of the computationally designed enzymes. In agreement with prior observations, our results strengthen the conclusion that significant rate accelerations of the Kemp elimination can be achieved with very few, nonspecific interactions with the substrate if a suitable catalytic base is present in a hydrophobic environment. Computational design can fulfill these requirements, and the design of more complex and precise environments represents the next level of challenges for protein design.
Project description:Computational design is a test of our understanding of enzyme catalysis and a means of engineering novel, tailor-made enzymes. While the de novo computational design of catalytically efficient enzymes remains a challenge, designed enzymes may comprise unique starting points for further optimization by directed evolution. Directed evolution of two computationally designed Kemp eliminases, KE07 and KE70, led to low to moderately efficient enzymes (k(cat)/K(m) values of ? 5 10(4) M(-1)s(-1)). Here we describe the optimization of a third design, KE59. Although KE59 was the most catalytically efficient Kemp eliminase from this design series (by k(cat)/K(m), and by catalyzing the elimination of nonactivated benzisoxazoles), its impaired stability prevented its evolutionary optimization. To boost KE59's evolvability, stabilizing consensus mutations were included in the libraries throughout the directed evolution process. The libraries were also screened with less activated substrates. Sixteen rounds of mutation and selection led to > 2,000-fold increase in catalytic efficiency, mainly via higher k(cat) values. The best KE59 variants exhibited k(cat)/K(m) values up to 0.6 10(6) M(-1)s(-1), and k(cat)/k(uncat) values of ? 10(7) almost regardless of substrate reactivity. Biochemical, structural, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies provided insights regarding the optimization of KE59. Overall, the directed evolution of three different designed Kemp eliminases, KE07, KE70, and KE59, demonstrates that computational designs are highly evolvable and can be optimized to high catalytic efficiencies.
Project description:One of the fundamental challenges in biotechnology and in biochemistry is the ability to design effective enzymes. Doing so would be a convincing manifestation of a full understanding of the origin of enzyme catalysis. Despite an impressive progress, most of the advances on this front have been made by placing the reacting fragments in the proper places, rather than by optimizing the environment preorganization, which is the key factor in enzyme catalysis. Rational improvement of the preorganization would require approaches capable of evaluating reliably the actual catalytic effect. This work takes previously designed kemp eliminases as a benchmark for a computer aided enzyme design, using the empirical valence bond as the main screening tool. The observed absolute catalytic effect and the effect of directed evolution are reproduced and analyzed (assuming that the substrate is in the designed site). It is found that, in the case of kemp eliminases, the transition state charge distribution makes it hard to exploit the active site polarity, even with the ability to quantify the effect of different mutations. Unexpectedly, it is found that the directed evolution mutants lead to the reduction of solvation of the reactant state by water molecules rather that to the more common mode of transition state stabilization used by naturally evolved enzymes. Finally it is pointed out that our difficulties in improving Kemp eliminase are not due to overlooking exotic effect, but to the challenge in designing a preorganized environment that would exploit the small change it charge distribution during the formation of the transition state.
Project description:Developments in computational chemistry, bioinformatics, and laboratory evolution have facilitated the de novo design and catalytic optimization of enzymes. Besides creating useful catalysts, the generation and iterative improvement of designed enzymes can provide valuable insight into the interplay between the many phenomena that have been suggested to contribute to catalysis. In this work, we follow changes in conformational sampling, electrostatic preorganization, and quantum tunneling along the evolutionary trajectory of a designed Kemp eliminase. We observe that in the Kemp Eliminase KE07, instability of the designed active site leads to the emergence of two additional active site configurations. Evolutionary conformational selection then gradually stabilizes the most efficient configuration, leading to an improved enzyme. This work exemplifies the link between conformational plasticity and evolvability and demonstrates that residues remote from the active sites of enzymes play crucial roles in controlling and shaping the active site for efficient catalysis.
Project description:The acid/base-catalysed Kemp elimination of 5-nitro-benzisoxazole forming 2-cyano-4-nitrophenol has long served as a design platform of enzymes with non-natural reactions, providing new mechanistic insights in protein science. Here we describe an alternative concept based on redox catalysis by P450-BM3, leading to the same Kemp product via a fundamentally different mechanism. QM/MM computations show that it involves coordination of the substrate's N-atom to haem-Fe(II) with electron transfer and concomitant N-O heterolysis liberating an intermediate having a nitrogen radical moiety Fe(III)-N· and a phenoxyl anion. Product formation occurs by bond rotation and H-transfer. Two rationally chosen point mutations cause a notable increase in activity. The results shed light on the prevailing mechanistic uncertainties in human P450-catalysed metabolism of the immunomodulatory drug leflunomide, which likewise undergoes redox-mediated Kemp elimination by P450-BM3. Other isoxazole-based pharmaceuticals are probably also metabolized by a redox mechanism. Our work provides a basis for designing future artificial enzymes.
Project description:Calcium (Ca2+) signals are decoded by the Ca2+-sensor protein calmodulin (CaM) and are transduced to Ca2+/CaM-binding transcription factors to directly regulate gene expression necessary for acclimation responses in plants. The molecular mechanisms of Ca2+/CaM signal transduction processes and their functional significance remains enigmatic. Here we report a novel Ca2+/CaM signal transduction mechanism that allosterically regulates DNA-binding activity of GT2-LIKE 1 (GTL1), a transrepressor of STOMATAL DENSITY AND DISTRIBUTION 1 (SDD1), to repress stomatal development in response to water stress. We demonstrated that Ca2+/CaM interaction with the 2nd helix of the GTL1 N-terminal trihelix DNA-binding domain (GTL1N) destabilizes a hydrophobic core of GTL1N and allosterically inhibits 3rd helix docking to the SDD1 promoter, leading to osmotic stress-induced Ca2+/CaM-dependent activation (de-repression) of SDD1 expression. This resulted in GTL1-dependent repression of stomatal development in response to water-deficit stress. Together, our results demonstrate that a Ca2+/CaM-regulated transcriptional switch on a trihelix transrepressor directly transduces osmotic stress to repress stomatal development to improve plant water-use efficiency as an acclimation response.
Project description:A computationally designed, allosterically regulated catalyst (CaM M144H) produced by substituting a single residue in calmodulin, a non-enzymatic protein, is capable of efficient and site selective post-translational acylation of lysines in peptides with highly diverse sequences. Calmodulin's binding partners are involved in regulating a large number of cellular processes; this new chemical-biology tool will help to identify them and provide structural insight into their interactions with calmodulin.
Project description:Once translocated into the cytosol of target cells, the catalytic domain (AC) of the adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA), a major virulence factor of Bordetella pertussis, is potently activated by binding calmodulin (CaM) to produce supraphysiological levels of cAMP, inducing cell death. Using a combination of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), and synchrotron radiation circular dichroism (SR-CD), we show that, in the absence of CaM, AC exhibits significant structural disorder, and a 75-residue-long stretch within AC undergoes a disorder-to-order transition upon CaM binding. Beyond this local folding, CaM binding induces long-range allosteric effects that stabilize the distant catalytic site, whilst preserving catalytic loop flexibility. We propose that the high enzymatic activity of AC is due to a tight balance between the CaM-induced decrease of structural flexibility around the catalytic site and the preservation of catalytic loop flexibility, allowing for fast substrate binding and product release. The CaM-induced dampening of AC conformational disorder is likely relevant to other CaM-activated enzymes.
Project description:Oxidation of methionine residues in calmodulin (CaM) lowers the affinity for calcium and results in an inability to activate target proteins fully. To evaluate the structural consequences of CaM oxidation, we used infrared difference spectroscopy to identify oxidation-dependent effects on protein conformation and calcium liganding. Oxidation-induced changes include an increase in hydration of alpha-helices, as indicated in the downshift of the amide I' band of both apo-CaM and Ca(2+)-CaM, and a modification of calcium liganding by carboxylate side chains, reflected in antisymmetric carboxylate band shifts. Changes in carboxylate ligands are consistent with the model we propose: an Asp at position 1 of the EF-loop experiences diminished hydrogen bonding with the polypeptide backbone, an Asp at position 3 forms a bidentate coordination of calcium, and an Asp at position 5 forms a pseudobridging coordination with a calcium-bound water molecule. The bidentate coordination of calcium by conserved glutamates is unaffected by oxidation. The observed changes in calcium ligation are discussed in terms of the placement of methionine side chains relative to the calcium-binding sites, suggesting that varying sensitivities of binding sites to oxidation may underlie the loss of CaM function upon oxidation.