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J Biochem. 2007 Sep;142(3):357-64. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Roles of s3 site residues of nattokinase on its activity and substrate specificity.

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State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resource, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China.


Nattokinase (Subtilisin NAT, NK) is a bacterial serine protease with high fibrinolytic activity. To probe their roles on protease activity and substrate specificity, three residues of S3 site (Gly(100), Ser(101) and Leu(126)) were mutated by site-directed mutagenesis. Kinetics parameters of 20 mutants were measured using tetrapeptides as substrates, and their fibrinolytic activities were determined by fibrin plate method. Results of mutation analysis showed that Gly(100) and Ser(101) had reverse steric and electrostatic effects. Residues with bulky or positively charged side chains at position 100 decreased the substrate binding and catalytic activity drastically, while residues with the same characters at position 101 could obviously enhance protease and fibrinolytic activity of NK. Mutation of Leu(126) might impair the structure of the active cleft and drastically decreased the activity of NK. Kinetics studies of the mutants showed that S3 residues were crucial to keep protease activity while they moderately affected substrate specificity of NK. The present study provided some original insight into the P3-S3 interaction in NK and other subtilisins, as well as showed successful protein engineering cases to improve NK as a potential therapeutic agent.

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