FEMS microbiology letters

Esterase activity of Bordetella pertussis CyaC-acyltransferase against synthetic substrates: implications for catalytic mechanism in vivo.

PMID 20132307


Adenylate cyclase-hemolysin toxin (CyaA) produced from the human respiratory tract pathogen Bordetella pertussis requires fatty-acyl modification by CyaC-acyltransferase to become an active toxin. Previously, the recombinant CyaA pore-forming (CyaA-PF) fragment expressed in Escherichia coli was shown to be hemolytically active upon palmitoylation in vivo by cosynthesized CyaC. Here, the 21-kDa CyaC enzyme separately expressed in E. coli as an inclusion body was solubilized in 8 M urea and successfully refolded into an enzymatically active monomer. In addition to the capability of activating CyaA-PF in vitro, CyaC showed esterase activity against p-nitrophenyl acetate (pNPA) and p-nitrophenyl palmitate (pNPP), with preferential hydrolysis toward pNPP when compared with chymotrypsin. A homology-based CyaC structure suggested a conceivable role of a catalytic triad including Ser(30), His(33) and Tyr(66) in substrate catalysis. Alanine substitutions of these individual residues caused a drastic decrease in specific activities of all three mutant enzymes (S30A, H33A and Y66A) toward pNPP, signifying that CyaC-acyltransferase shares a similar mechanism of hydrolysis with a serine esterase in which Ser(30) is part of the catalytic triad.