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J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 1;285(40):30606-14. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.138677. Epub 2010 Jul 20.

X-ray structure and mutational analysis of the atrazine Chlorohydrolase TrzN.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.


Atrazine chlorohydrolase, TrzN (triazine hydrolase or atrazine chlorohydrolase 2), initiates bacterial metabolism of the herbicide atrazine by hydrolytic displacement of a chlorine substituent from the s-triazine ring. The present study describes crystal structures and reactivity of wild-type and active site mutant TrzN enzymes. The homodimer native enzyme structure, solved to 1.40 Å resolution, is a (βα)(8) barrel, characteristic of members of the amidohydrolase superfamily. TrzN uniquely positions threonine 325 in place of a conserved aspartate that ligates the metal in most mononuclear amidohydrolases superfamily members. The threonine side chain oxygen atom is 3.3 Å from the zinc atom and 2.6 Å from the oxygen atom of zinc-coordinated water. Mutation of the threonine to a serine resulted in a 12-fold decrease in k(cat)/K(m), largely due to k(cat), whereas the T325D and T325E mutants had immeasurable activity. The structure and kinetics of TrzN are reminiscent of carbonic anhydrase, which uses a threonine to assist in positioning water for reaction with carbon dioxide. An isosteric substitution in the active site glutamate, E241Q, showed a large diminution in activity with ametryn, no detectable activity with atratone, and a 10-fold decrease with atrazine, when compared with wild-type TrzN. Activity with the E241Q mutant was nearly constant from pH 6.0 to 10.0, consistent with the loss of a proton-donating group. Structures for TrzN-E241Q were solved with bound ametryn and atratone to 1.93 and 1.64 Å resolution, respectively. Both structure and kinetic determinations suggest that the Glu(241) side chain provides a proton to N-1 of the s-triazine substrate to facilitate nucleophilic displacement at the adjacent C-2.

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