Histidine-40 of ribonuclease T1 acts as base catalyst when the true catalytic base, glutamic acid-58, is replaced by alanine.

TitleHistidine-40 of ribonuclease T1 acts as base catalyst when the true catalytic base, glutamic acid-58, is replaced by alanine.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsSteyaert, J., K. Hallenga, L. Wyns, and P. Stanssens
Date Published1990 Sep 25
KeywordsAlanine, Amino Acids, Catalysis, Escherichia coli, Esterification, Exoribonucleases, Glutamates, Glutamic Acid, Histidine, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Kinetics, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Mutation

Mechanisms for the ribonuclease T1 (RNase T1; EC catalyzed transesterification reaction generally include the proposal that Glu58 and His92 provide general base and general acid assistance, respectively [Heinemann, U., & Saenger, W. (1982) Nature (London) 299, 27-31]. This view was recently challenged by the observation that mutants substituted at position 58 retain high residual activity; a revised mechanism was proposed in which His40, and not Glu58, is engaged in catalysis as general base [Nishikawa, S., Morioka, H., Kim, H., Fuchimura, K., Tanaka, T., Uesugi, S., Hakoshima, T., Tomita, K., Ohtsuka, E., & Ikehara, M. (1987) Biochemistry 26, 8620-8624]. To clarify the functional roles of His40, Glu58, and His92, we analyzed the consequences of several amino acid substitutions (His40Ala, His40Lys, His40Asp, Glu58Ala, Glu58Gln, and His92Gln) on the kinetics of GpC transesterification. The dominant effect of all mutations is on Kcat, implicating His40, Glu58, and His92 in catalysis rather than in substrate binding. Plots of log (Kcat/Km) vs pH for wild-type, His40Lys, and Glu58Ala RNase T1, together with the NMR-determined pKa values of the histidines of these enzymes, strongly support the view that Glu58-His92 acts as the base-acid couple. The curves also show that His40 is required in its protonated form for optimal activity of wild-type enzyme. We propose that the charged His40 participates in electrostatic stabilization of the transition state; the magnitude of the catalytic defect (a factor of 2000) from the His40 to Ala replacement suggests that electrostatic catalysis contributes considerably to the overall rate acceleration. For Glu58Ala RNase T1, the pH dependence of the catalytic parameters suggests an altered mechanism in which His40 and His92 act as base and acid catalyst, respectively. The ability of His40 to adopt the function of general base must account for the significant activity remaining in Glu58-mutated enzymes.

Alternate JournalBiochemistry
PubMed ID1980211