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J Mol Biol. 1999 Jun 25;289(5):1445-57.

Substrate recognition and selectivity of peptide deformylase. Similarities and differences with metzincins and thermolysin.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie UMR 7654 Ecole Polytechnique-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau cedex, F-91128, France.


The substrate specificity of Escherichia coli peptide deformylase was investigated by measuring the efficiency of the enzyme to cleave formyl- peptides of the general formula Fo-Xaa-Yaa-NH2, where Xaa represents a set of 27 natural and unusual amino acids and Yaa corresponds to a set of 19 natural amino acids. Substrates with bulky hydrophobic side-chains at the P1' position were the most efficiently cleaved, with catalytic efficiencies greater by two to five orders of magnitude than those associated with polar or charged amino acid side-chains. Among hydrophobic side-chains, linear alkyl groups were preferred at the P1' position, as compared to aryl-alkyl side-chains. Interestingly, in the linear alkyl substituent series, with the exception of norleucine, deformylase exhibits a preference for the substrate containing Met in the P1' position. Next, the influence in catalysis of the second side-chain was studied after synthesis of 20 compounds of the formula Fo-Nle-Yaa-NH2. Their deformylation rates varied within a range of only one order of magnitude. A 3D model of the interaction of PDF with an inhibitor was then constructed and revealed indeed the occurrence of a deep and hydrophobic S1' pocket as well as the absence of a true S2' pocket. These analyses pointed out a set of possible interactions between deformylase and its substrates, which could be the ground driving substrate specificity. The validity of this enzyme:substrate docking was further probed with the help of a set of site-directed variants of the enzyme. From this, the importance of residues at the bottom of the S1' pocket (Ile128 and Leu125) as well as the hydrogen bond network that the main chain of the substrate makes with the enzyme were revealed. Based on the numerous homologies that deformylase displays with thermolysin and metzincins, a mechanism of enzyme:substrate recognition and hydrolysis could finally be proposed. Specific features of PDF with respect to other members of the enzymes with motif HEXXH are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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