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J Biol Chem. 2008 Nov 7;283(45):30942-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M805064200. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

A phosphate-binding histidine of binuclear metallophosphodiesterase enzymes is a determinant of 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase activity.

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Molecular Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Binuclear metallophosphoesterases are an enzyme superfamily defined by a shared fold and a conserved active site. Although many family members have been characterized biochemically or structurally, the physiological substrates are rarely known, and the features that determine monoesterase versus diesterase activity are obscure. In the case of the dual phosphomonoesterase/diesterase enzyme CthPnkp, a phosphate-binding histidine was implicated as a determinant of 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase activity. Here we tested this model by comparing the catalytic repertoires of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rv0805, which has this histidine in its active site (His(98)), and Escherichia coli YfcE, which has a cysteine at the equivalent position (Cys(74)). We find that Rv0805 has a previously unappreciated 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase function. Indeed, Rv0805 was 150-fold more active in hydrolyzing 2',3'-cAMP than 3',5'-cAMP. Changing His(98) to alanine or asparagine suppressed the 2',3'-cAMP phosphodiesterase activity of Rv0805 without adversely affecting hydrolysis of bis-p-nitrophenyl phosphate. Further evidence for a defining role of the histidine derives from our ability to convert the inactive YfcE protein to a vigorous and specific 2',3'-cNMP phosphodiesterase by introducing histidine in lieu of Cys(74). YfcE-C74H cleaved the P-O2' bond of 2',3'-cAMP to yield 3'-AMP as the sole product. Rv0805, on the other hand, hydrolyzed either P-O2' or P-O3' to yield a mixture of 3'-AMP and 2'-AMP products, with a bias toward 3'-AMP. These reaction outcomes contrast with that of CthPnkp, which cleaves the P-O3' bond of 2',3'-cAMP to generate 2'-AMP exclusively. It appears that enzymic features other than the phosphate-binding histidine can influence the orientation of the cyclic nucleotide and thereby dictate the choice of the leaving group.

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