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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Apr 17;135(15):5895-903. doi: 10.1021/ja401537t. Epub 2013 Apr 8.

Influence of active site location on catalytic activity in de novo-designed zinc metalloenzymes.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


While metalloprotein design has now yielded a number of successful metal-bound and even catalytically active constructs, the question of where to put a metal site along a linear, repetitive sequence has not been thoroughly addressed. Often several possibilities in a given sequence may exist that would appear equivalent but may in fact differ for metal affinity, substrate access, or protein dynamics. We present a systematic variation of active site location for a hydrolytically active ZnHis3O site contained within a de novo-designed three-stranded coiled coil. We find that the maximal rate, substrate access, and metal-binding affinity are dependent on the selected position, while catalytic efficiency for p-nitrophenyl acetate hydrolysis can be retained regardless of the location of the active site. This achievement demonstrates how efficient, tailor-made enzymes which control rate, pKa, substrate and solvent access (and selectivity), and metal-binding affinity may be realized. These findings may be applied to the more advanced de novo design of constructs containing secondary interactions, such as hydrogen-bonding channels. We are now confident that changes to location for accommodating such channels can be achieved without location-dependent loss of catalytic efficiency. These findings bring us closer to our ultimate goal of incorporating the secondary interactions we believe will be necessary in order to improve both active site properties and the catalytic efficiency to be competitive with the native enzyme, carbonic anhydrase.

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