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

Refined molecular structure of pig pancreatic alpha-amylase at 2.1 A resolution.

The structure of pig pancreatic alpha-amylase has been determined by X-ray diffraction analysis using multiple isomorphous replacement in a crystal of space group P2(1)2(1)2(1) (a = 70.6 A, b = 114.8 A, c = 118.8 A) containing nearly 75% solvent. The structure was refined by simulated annealing and Powell minimization, as monitored by 2Fo-Fc difference Fourier syntheses, to a conventional R of 0.168 at 2.1 A resolution. The final model consists of all 496 amino acid residues, a chloride and a calcium ion, 145 water molecules and an endogenous disaccharide molecule that contiguously links protein molecules related by the 2(1) crystallographic operator along x. The protein is composed of a large domain (amino acid residues 1 to 403) featuring a central alpha ta-barrel of eight parallel strands and connecting helices with a prominent excursion between strand beta 3 and helix alpha 3 (amino acid residues 100 to 168). The final 93 amino acid residues at the carboxyl terminus form a second small domain consisting of a compact Greek key beta-barrel. The domains are tightly associated through hydrophobic interfaces. The beta 3/alpha 3 excursion and portions of the central alpha/beta-barrel provide four protein ligands to the tightly bound Ca ion; three water molecules complete the coordination. The Cl- ion is bound within one end of the alpha/beta-barrel by two arginine residues in a manner suggesting a plausible mechanism for its allosteric activation of the enzyme. A crystalline complex of the pancreatic alpha-amylase with alpha-cyclodextrin, a cyclic substrate analog of six glucose residues, reveals, in difference Fourier maps, three unique binding sites. One of the alpha-cyclodextrin sites is near the center of the long polysaccharide binding cleft that traverses one end of the alpha/beta-barrel, another is at the extreme of this cleft. By symmetry this can also be considered as two half sites located at the extremes of the active site cleft. This latter alpha-cyclodextrin displaces the endogenous disaccharide when it binds and, along with the first sugar ring, delineates the extended starch binding site. The third alpha-cyclodextrin binds at an "accessory site" near the edge of the protein and is quite distant from the polysaccharide binding cleft. Its presence explains the multivalency of alpha-amylase binding to dextrins in solution. The extended active site cleft is formed by large, sweeping, connecting loops at one end of the alpha/beta-barrel. These include three sequence segments that are highly conserved among alpha-amylases.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Refined molecular structure of pig pancreatic alpha-amylase at 2.1 A resolution. Larson, S.B., Greenwood, A., Cascio, D., Day, J., McPherson, A. J. Mol. Biol. (1994) [Pubmed]
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