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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 9;279(2):920-7. Epub 2003 Oct 22.

Metal binding Asp-120 in metallo-beta-lactamase L1 from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia plays a crucial role in catalysis.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA.


Metallo-beta-lactamase L1 from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a dinuclear Zn(II) enzyme that contains a metal-binding aspartic acid in a position to potentially play an important role in catalysis. The presence of this metal-binding aspartic acid appears to be common to most dinuclear, metal-containing, hydrolytic enzymes; particularly those with a beta-lactamase fold. In an effort to probe the catalytic and metal-binding role of Asp-120 in L1, three site-directed mutants (D120C, D120N, and D120S) were prepared and characterized using metal analyses, circular dichroism spectroscopy, and presteady-state and steady-state kinetics. The D120C, D120N, and D120S mutants were shown to bind 1.6 +/- 0.2, 1.8 +/- 0.2, and 1.1 +/- 0.2 mol of Zn(II) per monomer, respectively. The mutants exhibited 10- to 1000-fold drops in kcat values as compared with wild-type L1, and a general trend of activity, wild-type > D120N > D120C and D120S, was observed for all substrates tested. Solvent isotope and pH dependence studies indicate one or more protons in flight, with pKa values outside the range of pH 5-10 (except D120N), during a rate-limiting step for all the enzymes. These data demonstrate that Asp-120 is crucial for L1 to bind its full complement of Zn(II) and subsequently for proper substrate binding to the enzyme. This work also confirms that Asp-120 plays a significant role in catalysis, presumably via hydrogen bonding with water, assisting in formation of the bridging hydroxide/water, and a rate-limiting proton transfer in the hydrolysis reaction.

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