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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2000 Sep 1;381(1):43-52.

Photoaffinity labeling and site-directed mutagenesis of rat squalene epoxidase.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Cell Biology, The University at Stony Brook, New York 11794-5215, USA.


Squalene epoxidase (SE) (EC is a flavin-requiring, non-cytochrome P-450 oxidase that catalyzes the conversion of squalene to (3S)-2,3-oxidosqualene. Photolabeling and site-directed mutagenesis were performed on recombinant rat SE (rrSE) to elucidate the location and roles of active-site residues important for catalysis. Two new benzophenone-containing analogs of NB-598, a nanomolar inhibitor of vertebrate SE, were synthesized in tritium-labeled form. These photoaffinity analogs (PDA-I and PDA-II) became covalently attached to SE when irradiated at 360 nm. Lys-C digestion and HPLC purification of [3H]PDA-I-labeled rrSE resulted in isolation of a single major peptide. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry of this peptide indicated a covalent adduct between PDA-I and a tripeptide, Asp-Ile-Lys, beginning at Asp-426 of rat SE. Based on the labeling results, three mutant constructs were made. First, the D426A and K428A constructs showed a 5- to 8-fold reduction in SE activity compared with wild-type enzyme, while little change was observed in the I427A mutant. Second, a set of five mutant constructs was prepared for the conserved region based on the structure of the flavoprotein p-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase (PHBH). Compared with wild-type, D284A and D407A showed less than 25% SE activity. This reduction also appeared to correlate with reduced affinity of the mutant proteins for FAD. Finally, each of the seven Cys residues of rrSE were individually mutated to Ala. Three Cys substitutions had no effect on SE activity, and substitutions at Cys-500 and Cys-533 showed a 50% lower SE activity. Mutations at Cys-490 and Cys-557 produced proteins with negligible SE activity, implicating these residues as being either structurally or catalytically essential. Chemical modification of wildtype and Cys mutants with a thiol-modifying reagent support the existence of a disulfide bond between Cys-490 and Cys-557.

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