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

Amino acid residues controlling acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase specificity.

Acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase have 51-54% sequence identity in mammalian species; they exhibit distinct substrate and inhibitor specificities. The crystal structure of acetylcholinesterase enables one to predict folding of related esterases as well as assign residues responsible for differences in substrate specificity. These predictions were tested by expression of esterase chimeras and site-specific mutants using mouse acetylcholinesterase as a template. Chimeras of acetylcholinesterase in which the amino-terminal 174 and the carboxyl-terminal 88 amino acids have been converted to the butyrylcholinesterase sequences still exhibit acetyl-like substrate specificity. Four nonconserved amino acids which are within the central sequence and appear to surround the acyl pocket, F295, R296, F297, and V300, have been mutated alone and in combination to the corresponding residues found in butyrylcholinesterase, L286, S287, I288, and G291. The V300 and R296 mutants slightly enhance butyrylthiocholine hydrolysis while the F295 and F297 mutants, alone and in combination, confer butyrylcholinesterase character by enhancing activity to butyrylthiocholine, and diminishing activity to acetylthiocholine. The F297 mutation eliminates substrate inhibition. F295 and F297 may form a clamp around the acetoxy methyl group. They have distinctive roles in affecting catalysis of the two acylcholines and precisely control acyl ester specificity. Comparison of the susceptibilities of the chimeras and site-specific mutants to cholinesterase-specific inhibitors isoOMPA, ethopropazine, and BW284c51 suggests that inhibitor selectivity for isoOMPA is attributable to residues limiting the size of the acyl pocket, while residues in the amino-terminal domain presumably near the lip of the gorge affect BW284c51 selectivity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


  1. Amino acid residues controlling acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase specificity. Vellom, D.C., Radić, Z., Li, Y., Pickering, N.A., Camp, S., Taylor, P. Biochemistry (1993) [Pubmed]
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