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Protein Sci. 2001 Jan;10(1):161-8.

Understanding thermostability in cytochrome P450 by combinatorial mutagenesis.

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The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Department of Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


The cytochromes P450 are an important class of mono-oxygenases involved in xenobiotic metabolism and steroid biosynthesis in a diverse set of life forms. Discovery of CYP-119, a P450 from the archea Sulfolobus solfataricus has provided a means for understanding nature's method of stabilizing this important protein superfamily. To identify classes of stabilizing interactions used by CYP-119, we have generated a randomized library of point mutants and screened for mutants that are less thermostable than the wild type by monitoring the characteristic Soret band in the visible region of the cell lysis. The selected mutants were characterized by differential scanning calorimetry to compare the temperatures of the melting transitions of the various mutants. The identified mutations suggested that electrostatic interactions involving salt links and charge-charge interactions, as well as contributions from other interactions such as aromatic stacking, and side chain volume of hydrophobic residues contribute to enhanced thermostability in this cytochrome P450.

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