Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2003 Mar 28;327(3):593-608.

How does an enzyme evolved in vitro compare to naturally occurring homologs possessing the targeted function? Tyrosine aminotransferase from aspartate aminotransferase.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 229 Stanley Hall #3206, Berkeley, CA 94720-3206, USA.


Aspartate aminotransferase (AATase) and tyrosine aminotransferase (TATase) are Escherichia coli paralogs that share 43% sequence identity. A plausible model posits that TATase arose from a duplication of an ancestral AATase-like enzyme. Directed evolution of AATase to an enzyme having TATase activity was undertaken in order to compare the evolved AATase variants with homologous TATases. Eight rounds of DNA shuffling and in vivo selection followed by a backcross with WT AATase produced enzymes that exhibited 100-270-fold increases in k(cat)/K(m)(Phe) and had as much as 11% of the tyrosine aminotransferase activity of WT E.coli TATase. Amino acid substitutions in 11 clones from rounds 7 and 8 were compared with conserved residues in AATases and TATases. The findings are conveniently and compactly illustrated by the use of Venn diagrams and set theory notation. A statistically significant (0.001<or=p<or=0.008) concentration of mutations occurs in a subset of positions (set AAT-TAT) that is conserved (>or=75% identical) in AATases and variable (<75% identical) in TATases. Very few mutations occur in the intersection (set AAT intersection TAT) of amino acid residues that are conserved in both enzyme types. Seven mutations from set AAT-TAT were combined by site-directed mutagenesis to give a construct that is 60% as active as the best round 8 enzyme, which has 13 amino acid replacements. The Venn diagrams may provide a generally useful tool to highlight the most important specificity determinants for rational redesign. Amino acid replacements were mapped onto the crystal structure of a hydrocinnamate complex of a designed TATase. Five of the seven positions most frequently substituted in the evolved clones are within 15 A of the phenyl side-chain, but only six of the 48 positions that were mutated once or twice are within that radius. Context dependence, neutral mutations, different selective pressures, and stochastic components provide explanations for the observation that many of the substitutions found in the directly evolved enzymes differ from the corresponding amino acids found in the modern natural TATases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center