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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Investigation of the microheterogeneity and aglycone specificity-conferring residues of black cherry prunasin hydrolases.

In black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.) seed homogenates, (R)-amygdalin is degraded to HCN, benzaldehyde, and glucose by the sequential action of amygdalin hydrolase (AH), prunasin hydrolase (PH), and mandelonitrile lyase. Leaves are also highly cyanogenic because they possess (R)-prunasin, PH, and mandelonitrile lyase. Taking both enzymological and molecular approaches, we demonstrate here that black cherry PH is encoded by a putative multigene family of at least five members. Their respective cDNAs (designated Ph1, Ph2, Ph3, Ph4, and Ph5) predict isoforms that share 49% to 92% amino acid identity with members of glycoside hydrolase family 1, including their catalytic asparagine-glutamate-proline and isoleucine-threonine-glutamate-asparagine-glycine motifs. Furthermore, consistent with the vacuolar/protein body location and glycoprotein character of these hydrolases, their open reading frames predict N-terminal signal sequences and multiple potential N-glycosylation sites. Genomic sequences corresponding to the open reading frames of these PHs and of the previously isolated AH1 isoform are interrupted at identical positions by 12 introns. Earlier studies established that native AH and PH display strict specificities toward their respective glucosidic substrates. Such behavior was also shown by recombinant AH1, PH2, and PH4 proteins after expression in Pichia pastoris. Three amino acid moieties that may play a role in conferring such aglycone specificities were predicted by structural modeling and comparative sequence analysis and tested by introducing single and multiple mutations into isoform AH1 by site-directed mutagenesis. The double mutant AH ID (Y200I and G394D) hydrolyzed prunasin at approximately 150% of the rate of amygdalin hydrolysis, whereas the other mutations failed to engender PH activity.[1]


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