The Journal of biological chemistry

Structure and Properties of a Non-processive, Salt-requiring, and Acidophilic Pectin Methylesterase from Aspergillus niger Provide Insights into the Key Determinants of Processivity Control.

PMID 26567911


Many pectin methylesterases (PMEs) are expressed in plants to modify plant cell-wall pectins for various physiological roles. These pectins are also attacked by PMEs from phytopathogens and phytophagous insects. The de-methylesterification by PMEs of the O6-methyl ester groups of the homogalacturonan component of pectin, exposing galacturonic acids, can occur processively or non-processively, respectively, describing sequential versus single de-methylesterification events occurring before enzyme-substrate dissociation. The high resolution x-ray structures of a PME from Aspergillus niger in deglycosylated and Asn-linked N-acetylglucosamine-stub forms reveal a 10⅔-turn parallel β-helix (similar to but with less extensive loops than bacterial, plant, and insect PMEs). Capillary electrophoresis shows that this PME is non-processive, halophilic, and acidophilic. Molecular dynamics simulations and electrostatic potential calculations reveal very different behavior and properties compared with processive PMEs. Specifically, uncorrelated rotations are observed about the glycosidic bonds of a partially de-methyl-esterified decasaccharide model substrate, in sharp contrast to the correlated rotations of processive PMEs, and the substrate-binding groove is negatively not positively charged.

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