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J Biol Chem. 1976 Feb 25;251(4):1006-8.

Acylation of subtilisin Carlsberg by phenyl esters.


Approximate Hammett reaction constants rho calculated from k2/K8 values of several phenyl esters of N-acetyl-L-phenylalanine, hippuric acid, and beta-phenylpropionic acid are 0.0, 0.4, and 1.0 respectively. To determine whether the lack of substituent effect of k2/K8 with the N-acetyl-L-phenylalanine esters is a result of substituent-insensitive k2 or rate-limiting association of enzyme and substrate, pH-k2/K8 deependences and solvent deuterium isotope effects were determined for certain of the substrates and compared with those found with the corresponding hippurates and beta-phenylpropionates. In the pH range 5 to 8, k2/K8 of the phenyl and 4-nitrophenyl esters of each series is dependent upon the unprotonated form of an enzymatic base of apparent pKa approximately 7.4, identical with the pKa found for the free enzyme. With the phenyl esters of each substrate class, k2/K8 decreased by 2 to 3 times in deuterium oxide compared with water. The results suggest that a step involving a general base-catalyzed proton transfer, almost certainly k2, is rate-limiting with the N-acetyl-L-phenylalaninates, as well as the hippurates and beta-phenylpropionates. Attack by the protein on the latter substrates is prediminantly nucleophilic, judged by the similarity of rho in the enzymatic and reference hydroxide ion-catalyzed hydrolyses. The power rho values for the N-acetyl-L-phenylalaninates and hippurates could result from an electrophilic component in their hydrolytic mechanisms.

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