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Exploring the selectivity of metal ions in the active site of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) using site-directed mutagenesis

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Emérita Mendoza Rengifo
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC/BT)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Richard Charles Garratt; Heloisa Sobreiro Selistre de Araújo; Marcos Roberto de Mattos Fontes
Advisor: Richard Charles Garratt

Iron/Manganese superoxide dismutases (Fe/Mn-SODs) are metalloenzymes with highly conserved protein folds, active sites, and dimer interfaces. They protect cells against oxidative stress by catalyzing the conversion of the cytotoxic free radical superoxide to molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. The majority are highly specific for the type of metal (iron or manganese) present within the active site. However, there are many key aspects of metal specificity and catalytic activity that lack a structural explanation. Computational analyses suggested that several residues are important for fine-tuning the redox potential of the metal in the active site and thereby the catalytic activity. The main objective of this thesis is to evaluate the influence of several point mutations (M27V, G73A, H75I, L80F, D150G and Q172D) and one double mutation (Q149G+G74Q)) in terms of metal specificity, catalytic activity and three-dimensional structure using the superoxide dismutase from Trichoderma reesei (TrSOD) as a model system. The corresponding genes were cloned, expressed and the resulting proteins characterized by X-ray crystallography, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and their enzymatic activity determined. The native protein was shown to be able to use either Mn or Fe (5000 units/mg and 500 units/mg, respectively) for catalysis suggesting it to be properly classified as cambialistic. Structures for native TrSOD and the Mn-G73A, Fe-H75I, Mn-L80F, Fe-D150G and Fe-M27V, Mn-M27V mutants were solved at 2.3 Å, 2.0 Å, 2.03 Å, 2.0 Å, 1.85 Å, 1.4 Å and 1.6 Å resolution, respectively. The H75I, L80F and M27V mutations are easily accommodated by small local structural changes to the three-dimensional structure. On the other hand, the G73A mutation destabilize one of the dimer-dimer interfaces of the tetramer making it possible for two distorted tetramers to interact forming an octamer. This enzyme also lost all catalytic activity probably due to resulting exposure of the active site consistent with the observation of a sixth ligand (solvent molecule) bound to the metal in one subunit. The D150G mutant remained tetrameric but with reduced symmetry related to the rearrangement of the last helix (H9). Our results show that a large impact on activity and oligomerization of TrSOD can be generated by a single amino acids substitution in some cases and provide some insights into our understanding of the structural details associated with the metal ion specificity and oligomerization in superoxide dismutases. (AU)