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J Biol Chem. 2002 Aug 9;277(32):29078-85. Epub 2002 May 23.

ElaC encodes a novel binuclear zinc phosphodiesterase.

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  • 1European Molecular Biology Laboratory Outstation Hamburg, Notkestr. 85, 22603 Hamburg, Germany.


ElaC is a widespread gene found in eubacteria, archaebacteria, and mammals with a highly conserved sequence. Two human ElaC variants were recently associated with cancer (Tavtigian, S. V., Simard, J., Teng, D. H., Abtin, V., Baumgard, M., Beck, A., Camp, N. J., Carillo, A. R., Chen, Y., Dayananth, P., Desrochers, M., Dumont, M., Farnham, J. M., Frank, D., Frye, C., Ghaffari, S., Gupte, J. S., Hu, R., Iliev, D., Janecki, T., Kort, E. N., Laity, K. E., Leavitt, A., Leblanc, G., McArthur-Morrison, J., Pederson, A., Penn, B., Peterson, K. T., Reid, J. E., Richards, S., Schroeder, M., Smith, R., Snyder, S. C., Swedlund, B., Swensen, J., Thomas, A., Tranchant, M., Woodland, A. M., Labrie, F., Skolnick, M. H., Neuhausen, S., Rommens, J., and Cannon-Albright, L. A. (2001) Nat. Genet. 27, 172-180; Yanaihara, N., Kohno, T., Takakura, S., Takei, K., Otsuka, A., Sunaga, N., Takahashi, M., Yamazaki, M., Tashiro, H., Fukuzumi, Y., Fujimori, Y., Hagiwara, K., Tanaka, T., and Yokota, J. (2001) Genomics 72, 169-179). Analysis of the primary sequence indicates homology to an arylsulfatase and predicts a metallo-beta-lactamase fold. At present, no ElaC gene product has been investigated. We cloned the Escherichia coli ElaC gene and purified the recombinant gene product. An enzymatic analysis showed that ElaC does not encode an arylsulfatase but rather encodes a phosphodiesterase that hydrolyzes bis(p-nitrophenyl)phosphate with a k(cat) of 59 s(-1) and K' of 4 mm. Kinetic analysis of the dimeric enzyme revealed positive cooperativity for the substrate bis(p-nitrophenyl)phosphate with a Hill coefficient of 1.6, whereas hydrolysis of the substrate thymidine-5'-p-nitrophenyl phosphate followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Furthermore, the enzyme is capable of binding two zinc or two iron ions. However, it displays phosphodiesterase activity only in the zinc form. The metal environment characterized by zinc K-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy was modeled with two histidine residues, one carboxylate group, and 1.5 oxygen atoms. This corresponds to the coordination found in other metallo-beta-lactamase domain proteins. Phosphodiesterase activity is strongly dependent on the presence of zinc. These results identify the currently unassigned gene product ElaC to be a novel binuclear zinc phosphodiesterase.

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