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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 17;279(38):39663-70. Epub 2004 Jul 22.

Probing the dynamics of a mobile loop above the active site of L1, a metallo-beta-lactamase from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, via site-directed mutagenesis and stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA.


A structural feature shared by the metallo-beta-lactamases is a flexible loop of amino acids that extends over their active sites and that has been proposed to move during the catalytic cycle of the enzymes, clamping down on substrate. To probe the movement of this loop (residues 152-164), a site-directed mutant of metallo-beta-lactamase L1 was engineered that contained a Trp residue on the loop to serve as a fluorescent probe. It was necessary first, however, to evaluate the contribution of each native Trp residue to the fluorescence changes observed during the catalytic cycle of wild-type L1. Five site-directed mutants of L1 (W39F, W53F, W204F, W206F, and W269F) were prepared and characterized using metal analyses, CD spectroscopy, steady-state kinetics, stopped-flow fluorescence, and fluorescence titrations. All mutants retained the wild-type tertiary structure and bound Zn(II) at levels comparable with wild type and exhibited only slight (<10-fold) decreases in k(cat) values as compared with wild-type L1 for all substrates tested. Fluorescence studies revealed a single mutant, W39F, to be void of the fluorescence changes observed with wild-type L1 during substrate binding and catalysis. Using W39F as a template, a Trp residue was added to the flexile loop over the active site of L1, to generate the double mutant, W39F/D160W. This double mutant retained all the structural and kinetic characteristics of wild-type L1. Stopped-flow fluorescence and rapid-scanning UV-visible studies revealed the motion of the loop (k(obs) = 27 +/- 2 s(-1)) to be similar to the formation rate of a reaction intermediate (k(obs) = 25 +/- 2 s(-1)).

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