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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jan 25;288(4):2605-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.436352. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Mechanism of action of Neisseria gonorrhoeae O-acetylpeptidoglycan esterase, an SGNH serine esterase.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


O-Acetylpeptidoglycan esterase from Neisseria gonorrhoeae functions to release O-acetyl groups from the C-6 position of muramoyl residues in O-acetylated peptidoglycan, thereby permitting the continued metabolism of this essential cell wall heteropolymer. It has been demonstrated to be a serine esterase with sequence similarity to the family CE-3 carbohydrate esterases of the CAZy classification system. In the absence of a three-dimensional structure for any Ape, further knowledge of its structure and function relationship is dependent on modeling and kinetic studies. In this study, we predicted Neisseria gonorrhoeae Ape1a to be an SGNH hydrolase with an adopted α/β-hydrolase fold containing a central twisted four-stranded parallel β-sheet flanked by six α-helices with the putative catalytic triad, Asp-366, His-369, and Ser-80 appropriately aligned within a pocket. The role of eight invariant and highly conserved residues localized to the active site was investigated by site-directed replacements coupled with kinetic characterization and binding studies of the resultant engineered enzymes. Based on these data and theoretical considerations, Gly-236 and Asn-268 were identified as participating at the oxyanion hole to stabilize the tetrahedral species in the reaction mechanism, whereas Gly-78, Asp-79, His-81, Asn-235, Thr-267, and Val-368 are proposed to position appropriately the catalytic residues and participate in substrate binding.

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