Involvement of one out of three tryptophan residues in the active site of the low-molecular-mass xylanase from Chainia has been demonstrated previously [Deshpande, Hinge and Rao (1990) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1041, 172–177]. The work described here aims at: (i) deducing the structure–function relationship for the tryptophan residue involved at the active site (a) by correlating the effect of N-bromosuccinimide (NBS) on the fluorescence and activity, and (b) by assessing the ability of xylan to protect against decrease in fluorescence versus activity of NBS-treated enzyme; and (ii) probing into the environment of the tryptophan residues by studying the quenching of their fluorescence by various solute quenchers in the presence and absence of guanidine hydrochloride (Gdn.HCl). Complete inactivation of the NBS-treated enzyme occurs well before the loss of fluorescence. Full protection by xylan (0.5%) of the inactivation of enzyme by NBS compared with 30% protection for the decrease in fluorescence confirms the participation of a single tryptophan at the substrate-binding site of the xylanase. The xylanase exhibited a rather low fluorescence emission maximum at 310 nm. There was no shift in the emission maximum on treatment of the enzyme with Gdn.HCl (6.5 M), indicating the rigidity of the microenvironment around tryptophan residues. The quenching studies with acrylamide suggested the occurrence of both collisional as well as static quenching processes. The enzyme retained full activity as well as the characteristic emission maximum at 310 nm in the presence of acrylamide (100 mM), indicating that quenching of fluorescence by acrylamide is a physical process. Acrylamide was more efficient as a quencher than CsCl or KBr. Treatment of the enzyme with Gdn.HCl resulted in an increase in accessibility of the quenchers to the fluorophore as suggested by an increase in the Stern–Volmer quenching constants (Ksv) of the solute quenchers. The analysis of Ksv and V values of KBr and CsCl suggests that the overall tryptophan microenvironment in the xylanase from Chainia is slightly electronegative.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1996