Mechanistic insight into the catalytic activity of ββα-metallonucleases from computer simulations: Vibrio vulnificus periplasmic nuclease as a test case.
ABSTRACT Using information from wild-type and mutant Vibrio vulnificus nuclease (Vvn) and I-PpoI homing endonuclease co-crystallized with different oligodeoxynucleotides, we have built the complex of Vvn with a DNA octamer and carried out a series of simulations to dissect the catalytic mechanism of this metallonuclease in a stepwise fashion. The distinct roles played in the reaction by individual active site residues, the metal cation and water molecules have been clarified by using a combination of classical molecular dynamics simulations and quantum mechanical calculations. Our results strongly support the most parsimonious catalytic mechanism, namely one in which a single water molecule from bulk solvent is used to cleave the phosphodiester bond and protonate the 3'-hydroxylate leaving group.
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ABSTRACT: The nuclease domain of colicin E7 (NColE7) promotes the nonspecific cleavage of nucleic acids at its C-terminal HNH motif. Interestingly, the deletion of four N-terminal residues (446-449 NColE7 = KRNK) resulted in complete loss of the enzyme activity. R447A mutation was reported to decrease the nuclease activity, but a detailed analysis of the role of the highly positive and flexible N-terminus is still missing. Here we present the study of four mutants, with a decreased activity in the following order: NColE7 >> KGNK > KGNG ˜ GGNK > GGNG. At the same time the folding, the metal-ion, and the DNA-binding affinity were unaffected by the mutations as revealed by linear and circular dichroism spectroscopy, isothermal calorimetric titrations and gel mobility shift experiments. Semiempirical quantum chemical calculations and molecular dynamics simulations revealed that K446, K449 and/or the N-terminal amino group are able to approach the active centre in the absence of the other positively charged residues. The results suggested a complex role of the N-terminus in the catalytic process that could be exploited in the design of a controlled nuclease.Protein Science 06/2014; · 2.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The His-Asn-His (HNH) motif characterizes the active sites of a large number of different nucleases such as homing endonucleases, restriction endonucleases, structure-specific nucleases and, in particular, nonspecific nucleases. Several biochemical studies have revealed an essential catalytic function for the first amino acid of this motif in HNH nucleases. This histidine residue was identified as the general base that activates a water molecule for a nucleophilic attack on the sugar phosphate backbone of nucleic acids. Replacement of histidine by an amino acid such as glycine or alanine, which lack the catalytically active imidazole side chain, leads to decreases of several orders of magnitude in the nucleolytic activities of members of this nuclease family. We were able, however, to restore the activity of HNH nuclease variants (i.e., EndA (Streptococcus pneumoniae), SmaNuc (Serratia marcescens) and NucA (Anabaena sp.)) that had been inactivated by His→Gly or His→Ala substitution by adding excess imidazole to the inactive enzymes in vitro. Imidazole clearly replaces the missing histidine side chain and thereby restores nucleolytic activity. Significantly, this chemical rescue could also be observed in vivo (Escherichia coli). The in vivo assay might be a promising starting point for the development of a high-throughput screening system for functional EndA inhibitors because, unlike the wild-type enzyme, the H160G and H160A variants of EndA can easily be produced in E. coli. A simple viability assay would allow inhibitors of EndA to be identified because these would counteract the toxicities of the chemically rescued EndA variants. Such inhibitors could be used to block the nucleolytic activity of EndA, which as a surface-exposed enzyme in its natural host destroys the DNA scaffolds of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and thereby allows S. pneumoniae to escape the innate immune response.ChemBioChem 02/2012; 13(5):713-21. · 3.74 Impact Factor