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Eur J Biochem. 1995 Mar 1;228(2):403-7.

Replacement of tryptophan residues in haloalkane dehalogenase reduces halide binding and catalytic activity.

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Department of Biochemistry, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


Haloalkane dehalogenase catalyzes the hydrolytic cleavage of carbon-halogen bonds in short-chain haloalkanes. Two tryptophan residues of the enzyme (Trp125 and Trp175) form a halide-binding site in the active-site cavity, and were proposed to play a role in catalysis. The function of these residues was studied by replacing Trp125 with phenylalanine, glutamine or arginine and Trp175 by glutamine using site-directed mutagenesis. All mutants except Trp125-->Phe showed a more than 10-fold reduced kcat and much higher Km values with 1,2-dichloroethane and 1,2-dibromoethane than the wild-type enzyme. Fluorescence quenching experiments showed a decrease in the affinity of the mutant enzymes for halide ions. The 2H kinetic isotope effect observed with the wild-type enzyme in deuterium oxide was lost in the active mutants, except the Trp125-->Phe enzyme. The results indicate that both tryptophans are involved in stabilizing the transition state during the nucleophilic substitution reaction that causes carbon-halogen bond cleavage.

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