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Active-Site Motions and Polarity Enhance Catalytic Turnover of Hydrated Subtilisin Dissolved in Organic Solvents

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2009, 00:00 by Elton P. Hudson, Ross K. Eppler, Julianne M. Beaudoin, Jonathan S. Dordick, Jeffrey A. Reimer, Douglas S. Clark
The enzyme subtilisin Carlsberg was surfactant-solubilized into two organic solvents, isooctane and tetrahydrofuran, and hydrated through stepwise changes in the thermodynamic water activity, aw. The apparent turnover number kcatapp in these systems ranged from 0.2 to 80 s−1 and increased 11-fold in isooctane and up to 50-fold in tetrahydrofuran with increasing aw. 19F NMR relaxation experiments employing an active-site inhibitor were used to assess the dependence of active-site motions on aw. The rates of NMR-derived fast (k > 107 s−1) and slow (k < 104 s−1) active-site motions increased in both solvents upon hydration, but only the slow motions correlated with kcat. The 19F chemical shift was a sensitive probe of the local electronic environment and provided an empirical measure of the active-site dielectric constant εas, which increased with hydration to εas ≈ 13 in each solvent. In both solvents, the transition state free energy data and εas followed Kirkwood’s model for the continuum solvation of a dipole, indicating that water also enhanced catalysis by altering the active-site’s electronic environment and increasing its polarity to better stabilize the transition state. These results reveal that favorable dynamic and electrostatic effects both contribute to accelerated catalysis by solubilized subtilisin Carlsberg upon hydration in organic solvents.