Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
A macroscopic approach has been employed to calculate the electrostatic potential field of nonactivated ribulose-1,5-bis-phosphate carboxylase and of some complexes of the enzyme with activator and substrate. The overall electrostatic field of the L2-type enzyme from the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum shows that the core of the dimer, consisting of the two C-terminal domains, has a predominantly positive potential. These domains provide the binding sites for the negatively charged phosphate groups of the substrate. The two N-terminal domains have mainly negative potential. At the active site situated between the C-terminal domain of one subunit and the N-terminal domain of the second subunit, a large potential gradient at the substrate binding site is found. This might be important for polarization of chemical bonds of the substrate and the movement of protons during catalysis. The immediate surroundings of the activator lysine, K191, provide a positive potential area which might cause the pK value for this residue to be lowered. This observation suggests that the electrostatic field at the active site is responsible for the specific carbamylation of the ε-amino group of this lysine side chain during activation. Activation causes a shift in the electrostatic potential at the position of K166 to more positive values, which is reflected in the unusually low pK of K166 in the activated enzyme species. The overall shape of the electrostatic potential field in the L2 building block of the L8S8-type Rubisco from spinach is, despite only 30% amino acid homology for the L-chains, strikingly similar to that of the L2-type Rubisco from Rhodospirillum rubrum. A significant difference between the two species is that the potential is in general more positive in the higher plant Rubisco. In particular, the second phosphate binding site has a considerably more positive potential, which might be responsible for the higher affinity for the substrate of L8S8-type enzymes. The higher potential at this site might be due to two remote histidine residues, which are conserved in the plant enzymes.
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