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Structure. 1996 Nov 15;4(11):1363-74.

A pancreatic lipase with a phospholipase A1 activity: crystal structure of a chimeric pancreatic lipase-related protein 2 from guinea pig.

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Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques, CNRS-IFR1 UPR9039, 31 chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13402 Marseille cedex 20, France.



The guinea pig pancreatic lipase-related protein 2 (GPLRP2) differs from classical pancreatic lipases in that it displays both lipase and phospholipase A1 activities; classical pancreatic lipases have no phospholipase activity. The sequence of GPLRP2 is 63 % identical to that of human pancreatic lipase (HPL), but the so-called lid domain, is much reduced in GPLRP2. A phospholipase A1 from hornet venom (Dolml PLA1) is very similar to HPL and GPLRP2 but is devoid of lipase activity; Dolml PLA1 also contains a reduced lid domain and lacks a region termed the beta9 loop, which is located in the vicinity of the HPL and GPLRP2 active sites. The structure determination of a chimera of GPLRP2 and HPL and domain building of Dolml PLA1 were undertaken to gain a better understanding of the structural parameters responsible for the differences in lipase versus phospholipase activity among these structurally related enzymes.


The crystal structure of a chimeric mutant of GPLRP2, consisting of the catalytic domain of GPLRP2 and the C-terminal domain of HPL, has been solved and refined to 2.1 A resolution. This enzyme belongs to the alpha/beta hydrolase fold family and shows high structural homology with classical pancreatic lipases. The active site is closely related to those of serine esterases, except for an unusual geometry of the catalytic triad. Due to the reduced size of the lid domain, the catalytic serine is fully accessible to solvent. Part of the beta9 loop, which stabilizes the lid domain in the closed conformation of the classical HPL, is totally exposed to the solvent and is not visible in the electron-density map.


The structures of the related enzymes, GPLRP2 and HPL and the model of Dolml PLA1, provide insights into the role played by the loops located above the active site in controlling substrate selectivity towards triglycerides or phospholipids. In GPLRP2, the lid domain is reduced in size compared to HPL, and hydrophilic residues are exposed to solvent. GPLRP2 is thus able to accommodate the polar head of phospholipids. The beta9 loop is still present in GPLRP2, making it possible for this enzyme to still accommodate triglycerides. In Dolml PLA1, the beta9 loop is absent, and this enzyme is unable to process triglycerides retaining only the phospholipase A1 activity.

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