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      Mimicking natural evolution in vitro: An N-acetylneuraminate lyase mutant with an increased dihydrodipicolinate synthase activity

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          Abstract

          N-acetylneuraminate lyase (NAL) and dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) belong to the NAL subfamily of (betaalpha)(8)-barrels. They share a common catalytic step but catalyze reactions in different biological pathways. By rational design, we have introduced various mutations into the NAL scaffold from Escherichia coli to switch the activity toward DHDPS. These mutants were tested with respect to their catalytic properties in vivo and in vitro as well as their stability. One point mutation (L142R) was sufficient to create an enzyme that could complement a bacterial auxotroph lacking the gene for DHDPS as efficiently as DHDPS itself. In vitro, this mutant had an increased DHDPS activity of up to 19-fold as defined by the specificity constant k(cat)K(M) for the new substrate l-aspartate-beta-semialdehyde when compared with the residual activity of NAL wild-type, mainly because of an increased turnover rate. At the same time, mutant L142R maintained much of its original NAL activity. We have solved the crystal structure of mutant L142R at 1.8 A resolution in complex with the inhibitor beta-hydroxypyruvate. This structure reveals that the conformations of neighboring active site residues are left virtually unchanged by the mutation. The high flexibility of R142 may favor its role in assisting in catalysis. Perhaps, nature has exploited the catalytic promiscuity of many enzymes to evolve novel enzymes or biological pathways during the course of evolution.

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          Most cited references 27

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          AMoRe: an automated package for molecular replacement

           J. Navaza (1994)
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            Industrial biocatalysis today and tomorrow.

            The use of biocatalysis for industrial synthetic chemistry is on the verge of significant growth. Biocatalytic processes can now be carried out in organic solvents as well as aqueous environments, so that apolar organic compounds as well as water-soluble compounds can be modified selectively and efficiently with enzymes and biocatalytically active cells. As the use of biocatalysis for industrial chemical synthesis becomes easier, several chemical companies have begun to increase significantly the number and sophistication of the biocatalytic processes used in their synthesis operations.
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              Catalytic promiscuity and the evolution of new enzymatic activities.

              Several contemporary enzymes catalyze alternative reactions distinct from their normal biological reactions. In some cases the alternative reaction is similar to a reaction that is efficiently catalyzed by an evolutionary related enzyme. Alternative activities could have played an important role in the diversification of enzymes by providing a duplicated gene a head start towards being captured by adaptive evolution.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                May 13 2003
                April 23 2003
                May 13 2003
                : 100
                : 10
                : 5694-5699
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0531477100
                156263
                12711733
                © 2003
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