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J Biol Chem. 2014 Sep 12;289(37):25523-36. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.575886. Epub 2014 Jul 21.

Substrate specificities and conformational flexibility of 3-ketosteroid 9α-hydroxylases.

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From the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and.
From the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Microbiology and Immunology, Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada


KshA is the oxygenase component of 3-ketosteroid 9α-hydroxylase, a Rieske oxygenase involved in the bacterial degradation of steroids. Consistent with its role in bile acid catabolism, KshA1 from Rhodococcus rhodochrous DSM43269 had the highest apparent specificity (kcat/Km) for steroids with an isopropyl side chain at C17, such as 3-oxo-23,24-bisnorcholesta-1,4-diene-22-oate (1,4-BNC). By contrast, the KshA5 homolog had the highest apparent specificity for substrates with no C17 side chain (kcat/Km >10(5) s(-1) M(-1) for 4-estrendione, 5α-androstandione, and testosterone). Unexpectedly, substrates such as 4-androstene-3,17-dione (ADD) and 4-BNC displayed strong substrate inhibition (Ki S ∼100 μM). By comparison, the cholesterol-degrading KshAMtb from Mycobacterium tuberculosis had the highest specificity for CoA-thioesterified substrates. These specificities are consistent with differences in the catabolism of cholesterol and bile acids, respectively, in actinobacteria. X-ray crystallographic structures of the KshAMtb·ADD, KshA1·1,4-BNC-CoA, KshA5·ADD, and KshA5·1,4-BNC-CoA complexes revealed that the enzymes have very similar steroid-binding pockets with the substrate's C17 oriented toward the active site opening. Comparisons suggest Tyr-245 and Phe-297 are determinants of KshA1 specificity. All enzymes have a flexible 16-residue "mouth loop," which in some structures completely occluded the substrate-binding pocket from the bulk solvent. Remarkably, the catalytic iron and α-helices harboring its ligands were displaced up to 4.4 Å in the KshA5·substrate complexes as compared with substrate-free KshA, suggesting that Rieske oxygenases may have a dynamic nature similar to cytochrome P450.


Actinobacteria; Bacterial Metabolism; Bile Acid; Cholesterol; Metalloenzyme; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Oxygenase

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