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J Mol Biol. 2004 Jan 2;335(1):357-69.

Analysis of thermal adaptation in the HSL enzyme family.

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  • 1Istituto di Biochimica delle Proteine, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via P. Castellino 111, 80131, Naples, Italy.


The recently solved three-dimensional (3D) structures of two thermostable members of the carboxylesterase/lipase HSL family, namely the Alicyclobacillus (formerly Bacillus) acidocaldarius and Archaeoglobus fulgidus carboxylesterases (EST2 and AFEST, respectively) were compared with that of the mesophilic homologous counterpart Brefeldine A esterase from Bacillus subtilis. Since the 3D homology models of other members of the HSL family were also available, we performed a structural alignment with all these sequences. The resulting alignment was used to assess the amino acid "traffic rule" in the HSL family. Quite surprisingly, the data were in very good agreement with those recently reported from two independent groups and based on the comparison of a huge number of homologous sequences from the genus Bacillus, Methanococcus and Deinococcus/Thermus. Taken as a whole, the data point to the statistical meaning of defined amino acid conversions going from psychrophilic to hyperthermophilic sequences. We identified and mapped several such changes onto the EST2 structure and observed that such mutations were localized mostly in loops regions or alpha-helices and were mostly excluded from the active site. A site-directed mutagenesis of two of the identified residues confirmed they were involved in thermal stability.

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