Crystallographic and fluorescence studies of ligand binding to N-carbamoylsarcosine amidohydrolase from Arthrobacter sp.

Alois Zajc, Maria João Romão, Boris Turk, Robert Huber

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Crystal structures of N-carbamoylsarcosine amidohydrolase (CSHase; EC have been analyzed by X-ray diffraction methods with two different inhibitors bound to the active site at 2.28 Å and 2.37 Å resolution. The catalytic center of the enzyme could be identified on the basis of these structures. The four substrate binding sites are situated at the intersubunit interfaces of the compact dimers AB and CD of the homotetrameric enzyme. Both inhibitors inactivate the enzyme irreversibly through covalent binding of their aldehyde groups to the thiol group of the active-site cysteine residue Cys177. Within the identified substrate binding sites a number of residues from different subunits are involved in hydrogen bonding of the inhibitors. Two residues (Ala172 and Thr173) that form an unusual cis-peptide bond at the binding site are important components in fixing the examined inhibitors by hydrogen bonds. An electrochemical enzyme assay for CSHase was used to test the effect of inhibitors and substrate analogs on the enzyme's activity, revealing the high substrate specificity of CSHase. The intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence of CSHase increases strongly upon substrate and inhibitor binding. As most of the tryptophyl residues are located at the active sites, they are thus considerably affected by ligand binding. Fluorescence-detected stopped-flow measurements have been used to study the kinetics of glyoxylate and substrate binding to CSHase. Substrate and inhibitor binding could clearly be distinguished in the stopped-flow experiments. Inhibitor binding reveals at least three different elementary processes, whereas substrate binding is much faster and contains phases with different signs in amplitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 1996


  • Amidohydrolase
  • Crystal structure
  • Inhibitor
  • Ligand binding
  • Tryptophan fluorescence


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