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Biochemical Studies on a Plant Epoxide Hydrolase :Discovery of a Proton Entry and Exit Pathway and the Use of In vitro Evolution to Shift Enantioselectivity

by Gurell, Ann, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The work leading to this thesis has provided additional information and novel knowledge concerning structure-function relationship in the potato epoxide hydrolase.Epoxide hydrolases are enzymes catalyzing the hydrolysis of epoxides to yield the corresponding vicinal diols. The reaction mechanism proceeds via a nucleophilic attack resulting in a covalent alkylenzyme intermediate, which in turn is attacked by a base-activated water molecule, followed by product release. Epoxides and diols are precursors in the production of chiral compounds and the use of epoxide hydrolases as biocatalysts is growing. The promising biocatalyst StEH1, a plant epoxide hydrolase from potato, has been investigated in this thesis.In paper I the active site residue Glu35, was established to be important for the formation of the alkylenzyme intermediate, activating the nucleophile for attack by facilitated proton release through a hydrogen bond network. Glu35 is also important during the hydrolytic half reaction by optimally orienting the hydrolytic water molecule, aiding in the important dual function of the histidine base. Glu35 makes it possible for the histidine to work as both an acid and a base.In paper II a putative proton wire composed of five water molecules lining a protein tunnel was proposed to facilitate effective proton transfer from the exterior to the active site, aiding in protonation of the alkylenzyme intermediate. The protein tunnel is also proposed to stabilize plant epoxide hydrolases via hydrogen bonds between water molecules and protein.Enzyme variants with modified enantiospecificity for the substrate (2,3-epoxypropyl)benzene have been constructed by in vitro evolution using the CASTing approach. Residues lining the active site pocket were targeted for mutagenesis. From the second generation libraries a quadruple enzyme variant, W106L/L109Y/V141K/I155V, displayed a radical shift in enantioselectivity. The wild-type enzyme favored the S-enantiomer with a ratio of 2:1, whereas the quadruple variant showed a 15:1 preference for the R-enantiomer.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Biochemistry; epoxide hydrolase; enantioselectivity; in vitro evolution; proton wire; epoxides; selectivity; CASTing; structure-function; Biochemistry; Biokemi

ISBN:978-91-554-7796-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2010

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