Slow off-rates and strong product binding are required for processivity and efficient degradation of recalcitrant chitin by family 18 chitinases [Enzymology]

October 14th, 2015 by Kurašin, M., Kuusk, S., Kuusk, P., Sorlie, M., Valȷamae, P.

Processive glycoside hydrolases are the key components of enzymatic machineries that decompose recalcitrant polysaccharides, such as chitin and cellulose. The intrinsic processivity (PIntr) of cellulases has been shown to be governed by the rate constant of dissociation from polymer chain (koff). However, the reported koff values of cellulases are strongly dependent on the method used for their measurement. Here we developed a new method for determining koff, based on measuring the exchange rate of the enzyme between a non-labeled and a 14C-labeled polymeric substrate. The method was applied to the study of the processive chitinase ChiA from Serratia marcescens. In parallel, ChiA variants with weaker binding of N-acetyl-glucosamine unit either in the substrate binding site −3 (ChiA-W167A) or the product binding site +1 (ChiA-W275A) were studied. Both ChiA variants showed increased off-rates and lower apparent processivity on α-chitin. The rate of the production of insoluble reducing groups on the reduced α-chitin was an order of magnitude higher than koff, suggesting that the enzyme can initiate several processive runs without leaving the substrate. On crystalline chitin, the general activity of the wild type enzyme was higher and the difference was magnifying with hydrolysis time. On amorphous chitin, the variants clearly outperformed the wild type. A model is proposed, whereby strong interactions with polymer in the substrate binding sites (low off-rates) and strong binding of the product in the product binding sites (high pushing potential) are required for the removal of obstacles, like disintegration of chitin microfibrils.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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