Methionine-Rich Loop of Multicopper Oxidase McoA Follows Open-to-Close Transitions with a Role in Enzyme Catalysis

Patrícia T. Borges, Vânia Brissos, Guillem Hernandez, Laura Masgrau, Maria Fátima Lucas, Emanuele Monza, Carlos Frazão, Tiago N. Cordeiro, Lígia O. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Multicopper oxidases oxidize a vast range of aromatic substrates coupled to the reduction of molecular oxygen to water. A vast broad spectrum of applications reflects their high biotechnological importance. The crystal structure of McoA from the hyperthermophilic bacteria Aquifex aeolicus has the most tightly compact and hydrophobic core among its prokaryotic counterparts. A 29-residue long loop enriched in glycines and methionines (Met-loop) close to the active T1 Cu center is not detected in the electron density maps. Accurate prediction of loop structures remains challenging, especially for long segments with sizable conformational space. Therefore, a combination of Rosetta and molecular dynamics simulations with ensemble-based small-angle X-ray scattering analysis was used to probe the conformational landscape of the Met-loop. The results indicate a highly flexible omega-loop, which is nevertheless not random but preferentially follows open-to-close transitions, exposing or occluding the T1 Cu site. Loop-truncated variants maintain wild-type stability and consistently lower and higher catalytic efficiencies (kcat/Km) for organic and metal substrates, respectively. Our results suggest that the loop transient dynamic equilibrium can exert important switch-like regulatory function, defining a role for Met-rich motifs as dynamic gate-gappers. This work provides insights into the dynamics of Met-rich loops essential to understand the molecular determinants of substrate promiscuity and catalytic rates within multicopper oxidases. We anticipate that engineering the Met-loop structural dynamics will unleash important changes in enzyme function and specificity with impact on their applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7162-7176
Number of pages15
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • catalytic promiscuity
  • hyperthermophilic enzymes
  • Laccases
  • loop modeling
  • methionine-rich low-complexity region
  • Rosetta
  • SAXS
  • X-ray


Dive into the research topics of 'Methionine-Rich Loop of Multicopper Oxidase McoA Follows Open-to-Close Transitions with a Role in Enzyme Catalysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this