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Protein Sci. 2002 Apr;11(4):806-19.

Analysis of serine proteinase-inhibitor interaction by alanine shaving.

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Laboratory of Protein Engineering, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Wroclaw, 50-137 Wroclaw, Poland.


We analyzed the energetic importance of residues surrounding the hot spot (the P(1) position) of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) in interaction with two proteinases, trypsin and chymotrypsin, by a procedure called molecular shaving. One to eight residues of the structural epitope, composed of two extended and exposed loops, were mutated to alanine(s). Although truncation of the side chains of residues surrounding the P(1) position to methyl groups caused a decrease in Delta G(den) values up to 6.4 kcal mole(-1), it did not influence the overall conformation of the inhibitor. We found that the replacement of up to six residues with alanines was fully additive at the level of protein stability. To analyze the influence of the structural epitope on the association energy, we determined association constants for BPTI variants and both enzymes and applied the additivity analysis. Shaving of two binding loops led to a progressive drop in the association energy, more pronounced for trypsin (decrease up to 9.6 kcal mole(-1)) than chymotrypsin (decrease up to 3.5 kcal mole(-1)). In the case of extensively mutated variants interacting with chymotrypsin, the association energies agreed very well with the values calculated from single mutational effects. However, when P(1)-neighboring residues were shaved to alanine(s), their contribution to the association energy was not fully removed because of the presence of methyl groups and main chain-main chain intermolecular hydrogen bonds. Moreover, the hot spot had a different contribution to the complex stability in the fully shaved BPTI variant compared with the wild type, which was caused by perturbations of the P(1)-S(1) electrostatic interaction.

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