The midgut caecal cells from Rhynchosciara americana larvae possess a plasma-membrane-bound beta-D-glucosidase (cellobiase, EC 188.8.131.52), which is recovered (75-95%) in soluble form both after treatment with Triton X-100 and after treatment with papain. The Triton X-100-solubilized beta-D-glucosidase displays Mr106000 and pI 5.4, whereas the papain-released beta-D-glucosidase shows Mr65000 and pI 4.7. Thermal inactivations of the detergent-solubilized and the papain-released forms of beta-D-glucosidase both follow apparent first-order kinetics with similar half-lives. The papain-released beta-D-glucosidase, after being purified by density-gradient centrifugation, hydrolyses beta-D-glucosides, beta-D-galactosides and beta-D-fucosides at the same active site, as inferred from experiments of competition between substrates. The beta-D-glucosidase seems to operate in accordance with rapid-equilibrium kinetics, since the Km (0.61 mM) for the enzyme is constant over a wide range of pH. The hydrolysis of the beta-D-glucosidic bond catalysed by the beta-D-glucosidase occurs without inversion of configuration, delta-gluconolactone is a strong (Ki 0.5 microM) inhibitor of the enzyme and substituents in the substrate aglycone affect the catalytic constant of the reaction. These data support the assumption that the mechanism of the reaction catalysed by the beta-D-glucosidase involves the intermediary formation of a carbonium ion, rather than a glucosyl-enzyme intermediate.
- © 1983 London: The Biochemical Society