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Altered flexibility in the substrate-binding site of related native and engineered high-alkaline Bacillus subtilisins

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  • F. A A Mulder
  • Dick Schipper, Gist Brocades B.V., Unknown
  • Richard Bott, Genencor International, Inc., Unknown
  • Rolf Boelens, Bijvoet Ctr. for Biomol. Research, Unknown

High-alkaline serine proteases have been successfully applied as protein degrading components of detergent formulations and are subject to extensive protein engineering efforts to improve their stability and performance. Dynamics has been suggested to play an important role in determining enzyme activity and specificity and it is therefore of interest to establish how local changes in internal mobility affect protein stability, specificity and performance. Here we present the dynamic properties of the 269 residue serine proteases subtilisin PB92 (Maxacal(TM)) and subtilisin BLS (Savinase(TM)), secreted by Bacillus lentus, and an engineered quadruple variant, DSAI, that has improved washing performance. T1, T2 and heteronuclear NOE measurements of the 15N nuclei indicate that for all three proteins the majority of the backbone is very rigid, with only a limited number of residues being involved in local mobility. Many of the residues that constitute the S1 and S4 pockets, determining substrate specificity, are flexible in solution. In contrast, the backbone amides of the residues that constitute the catalytic triad do not exhibit any motion. Subtilisins PB92, BLS and DSAI demonstrate similar but not identical NMR relaxation rates. A detailed analysis of local flexibility indicates that the motion of residues Thr143 and Ala194 becomes more restricted in subtilisin BLS and DSAI. Noteworthy, the loop regions involved in substrate binding become more structured in the engineered variant as compared with the two native proteases, suggesting a relation between altered dynamics and performance. Similar conclusions have been established by X-ray crystallograpic methods, as shown in the accompanying paper.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 1999
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • N relaxation, NMR, Protein dynamics, Protein engineering, Serine protease

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