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Biochemistry. 2000 Dec 19;39(50):15316-21.

Farnesyl diphosphate synthase. Altering the catalytic site to select for geranyl diphosphate activity.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


Farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPase) catalyzes chain elongation of the C(5) substrate dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) to the C(15) product farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) by addition of two molecules of isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP). The synthesis of FPP proceeds in two steps, where the C(10) product of the first addition, geranyl diphosphate (GPP), is the substrate for the second addition. The product selectivity of avian FPPase was altered to favor synthesis of GPP by site-directed mutagenesis of residues that form the binding pocket for the hydrocarbon residue of the allylic substrate. Amino acid substitutions that reduced the size of the binding pocket were identified by molecular modeling. FPPase mutants containing seven promising modifications were constructed. Initial screens using DMAPP and GPP as substrates indicated that two of the substitutions, A116W and N144'W, strongly discriminated against binding of GPP to the allylic site. These observations were confirmed by an analysis of the products from reactions with DMAPP in the presence of excess IPP and by comparing the steady-state kinetic constants for the wild-type enzyme and the A116W and N114W mutants.

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