Research ArticleBIOCHEMISTRY

“Newton’s cradle” proton relay with amide–imidic acid tautomerization in inverting cellulase visualized by neutron crystallography

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Science Advances  21 Aug 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 7, e1500263
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500263

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Hydrolysis of carbohydrates is a major bioreaction in nature, catalyzed by glycoside hydrolases (GHs). We used neutron diffraction and high-resolution x-ray diffraction analyses to investigate the hydrogen bond network in inverting cellulase PcCel45A, which is an endoglucanase belonging to subfamily C of GH family 45, isolated from the basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Examination of the enzyme and enzyme-ligand structures indicates a key role of multiple tautomerizations of asparagine residues and peptide bonds, which are finally connected to the other catalytic residue via typical side-chain hydrogen bonds, in forming the “Newton’s cradle”–like proton relay pathway of the catalytic cycle. Amide–imidic acid tautomerization of asparagine has not been taken into account in recent molecular dynamics simulations of not only cellulases but also general enzyme catalysis, and it may be necessary to reconsider our interpretation of many enzymatic reactions.

  • Cellulase
  • Carbohydrate Active enZymes
  • Proton relay
  • Neutron crystallography
  • biomass
  • Tautomerization
  • Phanerochaete chrysosporium

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