Isolation and Characterisation of the 5'-Nucleotidase from Escherichia coli
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Escherichia coli 5'-nucleotidase is a periplasmically localised enzyme capable of hydrolysing a broad range of substrates, including all 5'-ribo- and 5'-deoxyribonucleotides, uridine diphosphate sugars, and a number of synthetic substrates such as bis (r-nitrophenyl) phosphate. The enzyme has been shown to contain at least one zinc ion following purification, and to have two metal binding sites in the catalytic cleft. 5'-Nucleotidase activity is significantly stimulated by the addition of particular divalent metal ions, most notably cobalt which results in a 30-50 fold increase in activity. Significant sequence homology between the E. coli 5'-nucleotidase and members of the Ser/Thr protein phosphatase family in the catalytic site has lead to 5'-nucleotidase being included in this protein family. This thesis describes the development of a rapid purification methodology for milligram quantities of 5'-nucleotidase, and the investigation of a number of physical and biochemical properties of the enzyme with the aim of comparing these properties to those of certain catalytic site mutants. The molecular weight of the mature protein was estimated as 58219 daltons, with a specific activity for 5'-AMP, in the presence of 4 mM Co2+ and 13 mM Ca2+ at pH 6.0, of 730 mmol/min/mg. The presence of up to two zinc ions associated with the purified enzyme was observed using ICP-ES analysis, suggesting both metal ion binding sites are occupied by zinc in vivo, and some degree of displacement of zinc by cobalt could be observed. Mass spectrometry data, gathered at 60 and 70 mS orifice potential, suggested the presence of a small proportion of material with a mass 118 to 130 daltons greater than the main 5'-nucleotidase mass estimation. This study suggests that this mass difference, only evident at the lower orificepotential, is due to the presence of two zinc ions closely associated with 5'-nucleotidase. To account for the observed high level of activation of 5'-nucleotidase activity by particular divalent metal ions, this thesis describes a proposed model in which these divalent ions may displace the zinc ion at one of the metal ion binding sites. This displacement only occurs at one of the two metal ion binding sites, with the other metal binding site retaining the zinc ion already present. Studies with purified enzyme, each with a single amino acid substitution, lend support to this hypothesis and suggest the identity of the metal ion binding site at which displacement occurs. Seven key catalytic site residues (Asp-41, His-43, Asp-84, His-117, Glu-118, His-217 and His-252) were selected on the basis of sequence conservation within the Ser/Thr protein phosphatases and 5'-nucleotidases. X-ray crystallographic data published by others during this study implicated five of the selected residues (Asp-41, His-43, Asp-84, His-217 and His-252) directly in metal ion binding, including two residues from each metal ion binding site and one directly involved in both sites (Asp-84). The remaining two residues (His-117 and Glu-118) are highly conserved but were not thought to play direct roles in metal ion binding. The seven selected residues were modified by site-directed mutagenesis, and the effect of the amino acid substitutions upon the kinetic properties of 5'-nucleotidase activity was determined. Residues hypothesised to be involved in metal ion displacement, and subsequent activation of 5'-nucleotidase activity, were identified by reductions in metal ion affinity and increased levels of activation by cobalt compared to the wild type 5'-nucleotidase. This study suggests that the metal binding site, M2, that includes residues Asp-84, His-217 and His-252, is involved in metal ion displacement, while the other metal binding site, M1, is not. This, in turn, suggests the metal binding sites are functionally non-equivalent and kinetically distinct. No residues were identified in this study as playing significant roles in substrate binding, as there was no significant reduction observed in affinity for 5'-AMP observed in any of the catalytic site mutants.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences