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Eur J Biochem. 1995 May 1;229(3):688-95.

Insights into thermal stability from a comparison of the glutamate dehydrogenases from Pyrococcus furiosus and Thermococcus litoralis.

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Krebs Institute for Biomolecular Research, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, England.


In the light of the solution of the three-dimensional structure of the NAD(+)-linked glutamate dehydrogenase from the mesophile Clostridium symbiosum, we have undertaken a detailed examination of the alignment of the sequences for the thermophilic glutamate dehydrogenases from Thermococcus litoralis and Pyrococcus furiosus against the sequence and the molecular structure of the glutamate dehydrogenase from C. symbiosum, to provide insights into the molecular basis of their thermostability. This homology-based modelling is simplified by the relatively small number of amino acid substitutions between the two thermophilic glutamate dehydrogenase sequences. The most frequent amino acid exchanges involve substitutions which increase the hydrophobicity and sidechain branching in the more thermostable enzyme; particularly common is the substitution of valine to isoleucine. Examination of the sequence differences suggests that enhanced packing within the buried core of the protein plays an important role in maintaining stability at extreme temperatures. One hot spot for the accumulation of exchanges lies close to a region of the molecule involved in its conformational flexibility and these changes may modulate the dynamics of this enzyme and thereby contribute to increased stability.

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