Mechanism for the hydrolysis of organophosphates by the bacterial phosphotriesterase. Academic Article uri icon


  • Phosphotriesterase (PTE) from Pseudomonas diminuta is a zinc metalloenzyme that hydrolyzes a variety of organophosphorus compounds. The kinetic parameters of Zn/Zn PTE, Cd/Cd PTE, and a mixed-metal Zn/Cd hybrid PTE were obtained with a variety of substrates to determine the role of each metal ion in binding and catalysis. pH-rate profiles for the hydrolysis of diethyl p-nitrophenyl phosphate (I) and diethyl p-chlorophenyl phosphate (II) demonstrated that the ionization of a single group in the pH range of 5-10 was critical for substrate turnover. The pK(a) values determined from the kinetic assays were dependent on the identity of the metal ion that occupied the alpha site within the binuclear metal center. These results suggest that the hydrolytic nucleophile is activated as a hydroxide via the ionization of a water molecule attached to the alpha-metal ion. The kinetic constants for the hydrolysis of II and diethyl p-chlorophenyl thiophosphate (IV) were determined for the metal substituted forms of PTE. The kinetic constants for IV were greater than those for II. The inverse thio effect is consistent with the polarization of the phosphoryl oxygen/sulfur bond via a direct ligation to the metal center. The rate enhancement is greater when Cd(2+) occupies the beta-metal-ion position. A series of alanine and asparagine mutations were used to characterize the catalytic roles of Asp233, His254, and Asp301. Mutations to either Asp233 or His254 resulted in an enhanced rate of hydrolysis for the sluggish substrate, diethyl p-chlorophenyl phosphate, and a decrease in the kinetic constants for paraoxon (I). These results are consistent with the existence of a proton relay from Asp301 to His254 to Asp233 that is used to ferry protons away from the active site with substrates that do not require activation of the leaving group phenol. A mechanism for the hydrolysis of organophosphates by the bacterial PTE has been proposed.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Aubert, S. D., Li, Y., & Raushel, F. M.

citation count

  • 240

complete list of authors

  • Aubert, Sarah D||Li, Yingchun||Raushel, Frank M

publication date

  • May 2004