Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry

Multiple roles of Asp313 in the refined catalytic cycle of chitin degradation by Vibrio harveyi chitinase A.

PMID 23221718


Three acidic residues in the DXDXE sequence motif are suggested to play a concerted role in the catalysis of Vibrio harveyi ChiA. An increase in the optimum pH of 0.8 units in mutant D313A/N indicates that Asp313 influences the pKa of the ionizing groups around the cleavage site. D313A showed greatly reduced kcat/Km and increased KD, suggesting that Asp313 participates in catalysis and ligand binding. Investigation of the enzyme-substrate interactions of V. harveyi ChiA and Serratia marcescens ChiB revealed two conformations of Asp313 and (-1)GlcNAc. The first conformation, likely to be the initial conformation, showed that the β-COOH of Asp313 only interacted with the -C=O of the N-acetyl group in the distorted sugar. The second conformation, formed from the first by concerted bond rotations, demonstrated hydrogen bonds between the Asp313 side chain and the -NH of the N-acetyl group and the γ-COOH of Glu315. Here we propose a further refinement of the catalytic cycle of chitin hydrolysis by family-18 chitinases that involves four steps: Step 1: Pre-priming. An acidic pair is formed between Asp311 and Asp313. Step 2: Substrate binding. The Asp313 side chain detaches from Asp311 and rotates to form a H-bond with the C=O of the 2-acetamido group of -1GlcNAc. Step 3: Bond cleavage. The side chain of Asp313 and the 2-acetamido group simultaneously rotate, permitting Asp313 to interact with the side chain of Glu315 and facilitating bond cleavage. Step 4: Formation of reaction intermediate. The transient (-1) C1-GlcNAc cation readily reacts with the 2-acetamido group, forming an oxazolinium ion intermediate. Further attack by a neighboring water results in retention of β-configuration of the degradation products.