Second-Shell Amino Acid R266 Helps Determine N-Succinylamino Acid Racemase Reaction Specificity in Promiscuous N-Succinylamino Acid Racemase/o-Succinylbenzoate Synthase Enzymes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Catalytic promiscuity is the coincidental ability to catalyze nonbiological reactions in the same active site as the native biological reaction. Several lines of evidence show that catalytic promiscuity plays a role in the evolution of new enzyme functions. Thus, studying catalytic promiscuity can help identify structural features that predispose an enzyme to evolve new functions. This study identifies a potentially preadaptive residue in a promiscuous N-succinylamino acid racemase/o-succinylbenzoate synthase (NSAR/OSBS) enzyme from Amycolatopsis sp. T-1-60. This enzyme belongs to a branch of the OSBS family which includes many catalytically promiscuous NSAR/OSBS enzymes. R266 is conserved in all members of the NSAR/OSBS subfamily. However, the homologous position is usually hydrophobic in other OSBS subfamilies, whose enzymes lack NSAR activity. The second-shell amino acid R266 is close to the catalytic acid/base K263, but it does not contact the substrate, suggesting that R266 could affect the catalytic mechanism. Mutating R266 to glutamine in Amycolatopsis NSAR/OSBS profoundly reduces NSAR activity but moderately reduces OSBS activity. This is due to a 1000-fold decrease in the rate of proton exchange between the substrate and the general acid/base catalyst K263. This mutation is less deleterious for the OSBS reaction because K263 forms a cation- interaction with the OSBS substrate and/or the intermediate, rather than acting as a general acid/base catalyst. Together, the data explain how R266 contributes to NSAR reaction specificity and was likely an essential preadaptation for the evolution of NSAR activity.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Truong, D. P., Rousseau, S., Machala, B. W., Huddleston, J. P., Zhu, M., Hull, K. G., ... Glasner, M. E.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Truong, Dat P||Rousseau, Simon||Machala, Benjamin W||Huddleston, Jamison P||Zhu, Mingzhao||Hull, Kenneth G||Romo, Daniel||Raushel, Frank M||Sacchettini, James C||Glasner, Margaret E

publication date

  • January 2021