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Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16;47(37):9715-7. doi: 10.1021/bi8010779. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Solution NMR structure of the NlpC/P60 domain of lipoprotein Spr from Escherichia coli: structural evidence for a novel cysteine peptidase catalytic triad.

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  • 1Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Escherichia coli Spr is a membrane-anchored cell wall hydrolase. The solution NMR structure of the C-terminal NlpC/P60 domain of E. coli Spr described here reveals that the protein adopts a papain-like alpha+beta fold and identifies a substrate-binding cleft featuring several highly conserved residues. The active site features a novel Cys-His-His catalytic triad that appears to be a unique structural signature of this cysteine peptidase family. Moreover, the relative orientation of these catalytic residues is similar to that observed in the analogous Ser-His-His triad, a variant of the classic Ser-His-Asp charge relay system, suggesting the convergent evolution of a catalytic mechanism in quite distinct peptidase families.

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