Using catalytic atom maps to predict the catalytic functions present in enzyme active sites.

PMID 22909276


Catalytic atom maps (CAMs) are minimal models of enzyme active sites. The structures in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) were examined to determine if proteins with CAM-like geometries in their active sites all share the same catalytic function. We combined the CAM-based search protocol with a filter based on the weighted contact number (WCN) of the catalytic residues, a measure of the "crowdedness" of the microenvironment around a protein residue. Using this technique, a CAM based on the Ser-His-Asp catalytic triad of trypsin was able to correctly identify catalytic triads in other enzymes within 0.5 Å rmsd of the CAM with 96% accuracy. A CAM based on the Cys-Arg-(Asp/Glu) active site residues from the tyrosine phosphatase active site achieved 89% accuracy in identifying this type of catalytic functionality. Both of these CAMs were able to identify active sites across different fold types. Finally, the PDB was searched to locate proteins with catalytic functionality similar to that present in the active site of orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase (ODCase), whose mechanism is not known with certainty. A CAM, based on the conserved Lys-Asp-Lys-Asp tetrad in the ODCase active site, was used to search the PDB for enzymes with similar active sites. The ODCase active site has a geometry similar to that of Schiff base-forming Class I aldolases, with lowest aldolase rmsd to the ODCase CAM at 0.48 Å. The similarity between this CAM and the aldolase active site suggests that ODCase has the correct catalytic functionality present in its active site for the generation of a nucleophilic lysine.