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

Dissection of the human acetylcholinesterase active center determinants of substrate specificity. Identification of residues constituting the anionic site, the hydrophobic site, and the acyl pocket.

Substrate specificity determinants of human acetylcholinesterase (HuAChE) were identified by combination of molecular modeling and kinetic studies with enzymes mutated in residues Trp-86, Trp-286, Phe-295, Phe-297, Tyr-337, and Phe-338. The substitution of Trp-86 by alanine resulted in a 660-fold decrease in affinity for acetythiocholine but had no effect on affinity for the isosteric uncharged substrate (3,3-dimethylbutylthioacetate). The results demonstrate that residue Trp-86 is the anionic site which binds, through cation-pi interactions, the quaternary ammonium of choline, and that of active center inhibitors such as edrophonium. The results also suggest that in the non-covalent complex, charged and uncharged substrates with a common acyl moiety (acetyl) bind to different molecular environments. The hydrophobic site for the alcoholic portion of the covalent adduct (tetrahedral intermediate) includes residues Trp-86, Tyr-337, and Phe-338, which operate through nonpolar and/or stacking interactions, depending on the substrate. Substrates containing choline but differing in the acyl moiety (acetyl, propyl, and butyryl) revealed that residues Phe-295 and Phe-297 determine substrate specificity of the acyl pocket for the covalent adducts. Phe-295 also determines substrate specificity in the non-covalent enzyme substrate complex and thus, the HuAChE F295A mutant exhibits over 130-fold increase in the apparent bimolecular rate constant for butyrylthiocholine compared with wild type enzyme. Reactivity toward specific butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors is similarly dependent on the nature of residues at positions 295 and 297. Amino acid Trp-286 at the rim of the active site "gorge" and Trp-86, in the active center, are essential elements in the mechanism of inhibition by propidium, a peripheral anionic site ligand. Molecular modeling and kinetic data suggest that a cross-talk between Trp-286 and Trp-86 can result in reorientation of Trp-86 which may then interfere with stabilization of substrate enzyme complexes. It is proposed that the conformational flexibility of aromatic residues generates a plasticity in the active center that contributes to the high efficiency of AChE and its ability to respond to external stimuli.[1]

References

  1. Dissection of the human acetylcholinesterase active center determinants of substrate specificity. Identification of residues constituting the anionic site, the hydrophobic site, and the acyl pocket. Ordentlich, A., Barak, D., Kronman, C., Flashner, Y., Leitner, M., Segall, Y., Ariel, N., Cohen, S., Velan, B., Shafferman, A. J. Biol. Chem. (1993) [Pubmed]
 
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