Catalytic control of enzymatic fluorine specificity

Departments of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 11/2012; 109(48). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212591109
Source: PubMed


The investigation of unique chemical phenotypes has led to the discovery of enzymes with interesting behaviors that allow us to explore unusual function. The organofluorine-producing microbe Streptomyces cattleya has evolved a fluoroacetyl-CoA thioesterase (FlK) that demonstrates a surprisingly high level of discrimination for a single fluorine substituent on its substrate compared with the cellularly abundant hydrogen analog, acetyl-CoA. In this report, we show that the high selectivity of FlK is achieved through catalysis rather than molecular recognition, where deprotonation at the C(α) position to form a putative ketene intermediate only occurs on the fluorinated substrate, thereby accelerating the rate of hydrolysis 10(4)-fold compared with the nonfluorinated congener. These studies provide insight into mechanisms of catalytic selectivity in a native system where the existence of two reaction pathways determines substrate rather than product selection.

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