Phosphotriesterase (PTE) detoxifies nerve agents and organophosphate pesticides. The two zinc cations of the PTE active centre can be substituted by other transition metal cations without loss of activity. Furthermore, metal-substituted PTEs display differences in catalytic properties. A prerequisite for engineering highly efficient mutants of PTE is to improve their thermostability. Isoelectric focusing, capillary electrophoresis and steady-state kinetics analysis were used to determine the contribution of the active-site cations Zn2+, Co2+ or Cd2+ to both the catalytic activity and the conformational stability of the corresponding PTE isoforms. The three isoforms have different pI values (7.2, 7.5 and 7.1) and showed non-superimposable electrophoretic titration curves. The overall structural alterations, causing changes in functional properties, were found to be related to the nature of the bound cation: ionic radius and ion electronegativity correlate with Km and kcat respectively. In addition, the pH-dependent activity profiles of isoforms were different. The temperature-dependent profiles of activity showed maximum activity at T≤35 °C, followed by an activation phase near 45–48 °C and then inactivation which was completed at 60 °C. Analysis of thermal denaturation of the PTEs provided evidence that the activation phase resulted from a transient intermediate. Finally, at the optimum activity between pH 8 and 9.4, the thermostability of the different PTEs increased as the pH decreased, and the metal cation modulated stability (Zn2+-, Co2+- and Cd2+-PTE showed different Tm values of 60.5–67 °C, 58–64 °C and 53–64 °C respectively). Requirements for optimum activity of PTE (displayed by Co2+-PTE) and maximum stability (displayed by Zn2+-PTE) were demonstrated.
- capillary electrophoresis
- protein stability
- thermal unfolding
Abbreviations used: BCA, bicinchoninic acid; CE, capillary electrophoresis; CHES, 2-(N-cyclohexylamino)ethanesulphonic acid; IEF, isoelectric focusing; OP, organophosphorus compounds; PTE, phosphotriesterase; RMSD, root mean square deviation.
- The Biochemical Society, London ©2004