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Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cif Defines a Distinct Class of α/β Epoxide Hydrolases Utilizing a His/Tyr Ring-Opening Pair

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The Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that secretes a multitude of virulence factors during the course of infection. Among these is Cif, an epoxide hydrolase (EH) that reduces the functional localization of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator in epithelial cells. In addition to being the first reported EH virulence factor, Cif possesses unique sequence deviations from canonical EH motifs. Foremost among these is the substitution of a histidine for the first epoxide ring-opening tyrosine in the active site. To test the functional equivalence of Tyr and His side chains at this position, we have generated the mutant Cif-H177Y. Structural analysis confirms that both the WT His and mutant Tyr side chains can be accommodated without large-scale conformational changes. However, the Tyr mutant is functionally inactive. Based on a detailed analysis of the structure of the Tyr mutant, it appears that Cif's main-chain conformation imposes a functional requirement for a His at this position. Comparison with canonical EH structures reveals additional conformational differences, which are coupled to divergent sequence characteristics. When used to probe the genomes of other opportunistic pathogens, these sequence-structure criteria uncover candidate sequences that appear to form a distinct subfamily of Cif-like epoxide hydrolases characterized by a conserved His/Tyr ring-opening pair.

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Keywords: Gram-negative bacterium; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; X-ray crystallography; cystic fibrosis; dehalogenases; enzyme mechanism; epoxide hydrolases; lattice; protein structure; site-directed mutagenesis; α/β hydrolase phylogeny

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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