Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 31, Issue 7–8, pp 259–278 | Cite as

Effects of the residue adjacent to the reactive serine on the substrate interactions ofDrosophila esterase 6

  • Mark A. Myers
  • Marion J. Healy
  • John G. Oakeshott


Esterase 6 fromDrosophila melanogaster is a carboxylesterase that belongs to the serine esterase multigene family. It has a basic histidine (His) at residue 187, adjacent to the reactive serine (Ser) at residue 188, whereas most other characterized members of the family have an acidic glutamate (Glu) in the equivalent position. We have used site-directedin vitro mutagenesis to replace the His codon of the esterase 6 gene with either Gln or Glu codons. The enzymes encoded by these active-site mutants and a wild-type control have been expressed, purified, and characterized. Substitution of Gln for His at position 187 has little effect on the biochemical properties of esterase 6, but the presence of Glu at this position is associated with three major differences. First, the pH optimum is increased from 7 to 9. Second, the mutant enzyme shows decreased activity for β-naphthyl esters andp-nitrophenyl acetate but has gained the ability to hydrolyze acetylthiocholine. Finally, the Gibb’s free energy of activation for the enzyme is increased. These results suggest that residue 187 interacts directly with the substrate alkyl group and that this interaction is fully realized in the transition state. We further propose that the presence of His rather than Glu at position 187 in esterase 6 contributes significantly to its functional divergence from the cholinesterases and that this divergence is due to different interactions between residue 187 and the substrate alkyl group.

Key words

serine esterase substrate interactions Drosophila acetylcholine 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Myers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marion J. Healy
    • 1
  • John G. Oakeshott
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of EntomologyCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Botany DepartmentAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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