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Biochemistry. 2001 Oct 23;40(42):12695-703.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae leukotriene A4 hydrolase: formation of leukotriene B4 and identification of catalytic residues.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Leukotriene A(4) hydrolase in mammals is a bifunctional zinc metalloenzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of leukotriene A(4) into the proinflammatory mediator leukotriene B(4), and also possesses an aminopeptidase activity. Recently we cloned and characterized an leukotriene A(4) hydrolase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a leucyl aminopeptidase with an epoxide hydrolase activity. Here we show that S. cerevisiae leukotriene A(4) hydrolase is a metalloenzyme containing one zinc atom complexed to His-340, His-344, and Glu-363. Mutagenetic analysis indicates that the aminopeptidase activity follows a general base mechanism with Glu-341 and Tyr-429 as the base and proton donor, respectively. Furthermore, the yeast enzyme hydrolyzes leukotriene A(4) into three compounds, viz., 5S,6S-dihydroxy-7,9-trans-11,14-cis-eicosatetraenoic acid, leukotriene B(4), and Delta(6)-trans-Delta(8)-cis-leukotriene B(4), with a relative formation of 1:0.2:0.1. In addition, exposure of S. cerevisiae leukotriene A(4) hydrolase to leukotriene A(4) selectively inactivates the epoxide hydrolase activity with a simultaneous stimulation of the aminopeptidase activity. Moreover, kinetic analyses of wild-type and mutated S. cerevisiae leukotriene A(4) hydrolase suggest that leukotriene A(4) binds in one catalytic mode and one tight-binding, regulatory mode. Exchange of a Phe-424 in S. cerevisiae leukotriene A(4) hydrolase for a Tyr, the corresponding residue in human leukotriene A(4) hydrolase, results in a protein that converts leukotriene A(4) into leukotriene B(4) with an improved efficiency and specificity. Hence, by a single point mutation, we could make the active site better suited to bind and turn over the substrate leukotriene A(4), thus mimicking a distinct step in the molecular evolution of S. cerevisiae leukotriene A(4) hydrolase toward its mammalian counterparts.

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