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Substrate Specificity of Trypsin Investigated by Using a Genetic Selection

Luke B. Evnin, John R. Vásquez and Charles S. Craik
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 87, No. 17 (Sep., 1990), pp. 6659-6663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2355359
Page Count: 5
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Substrate Specificity of Trypsin Investigated by Using a Genetic Selection
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Abstract

The structural determinants of the primary substrate specificity of rat anionic trypsin were examined by using oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis coupled to a genetic selection. A library was created that encoded trypsins substituted at amino acid positions 189 and 190 at the base of the substrate binding pocket. A genetic selection, with a dynamic range of 5 orders of proteolytic activity, was used to search 90,000 transformants of the library. Rapid screening for arginyl amidolysis and esterolysis confirmed the activity of the purified isolates. Trypsin and 15 mutant trypsins with partially preserved function were identified and characterized kinetically on arginyl and lysyl peptide substrates. Alternative arrangements of amino acids in the substrate binding pocket sustained efficient catalysis. A negative charge at amino acid position 189 or 190 was shown to be essential for high-level catalysis. With the favored aspartic acid residue at position 189, several amino acids could replace serine at position 190. Modulation of the specificity for arginine and lysine substrates was shown to depend on the amino acid at position 190. The regulatory effect of the amino acid side chain at position 190 on the substrate specificity is also reflected in substrate binding pockets of naturally occurring trypsin homologs.

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