Probing the determinants of coenzyme specificity in Peptostreptococcus asaccharolyticus glutamate dehydrogenase by site-directed mutagenesis

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Glutamate dehydrogenase (EC–4) from Peptostreptococcus asaccharolyticus has a strong preference for NADH over NADPH as a coenzyme, over 1000-fold in terms of kcat/Km values. Sequence alignments across the wider family of NAD(P)-dependent dehydrogenases might suggest that this preference is mainly due to a negatively charged glutamate at position 243 (E243) in the adenine ribose-binding pocket. We have examined the possibility of altering coenzyme specificity of the Peptostreptococcus enzyme, and, more specifically, the role of residue 243 and neighbouring residues in coenzyme binding, by introducing a range of point mutations. Glutamate dehydrogenases are unusual among dehydrogenases in that NADPH-specific forms usually have aspartate at this position. However, replacement of E243 with aspartate led to only a nine-fold relaxation of the strong discrimination against NADPH. By contrast, replacement with a more positively charged lysine or arginine, as found in NADPH-dependent members of other dehydrogenase families, allows a more than 1000-fold shift toward NADPH, resulting in enzymes equally efficient with NADH or NADPH. Smaller shifts in the same direction were also observed in enzymes where a neighboring tryptophan, W244, was replaced by a smaller alanine (approximately six-fold) or Asp245 was changed to lysine (32-fold). Coenzyme binding studies confirm that the mutations result in the expected major changes in relative affinities for NADH and NADPH, and pH studies indicate that improved affinity for the extra phosphate of NADPH is the predominant reason for the increased catalytic efficiency with this coenzyme. The marked difference between the results of replacing E243 with aspartate and with positive residues implies that the mode of NADPH binding in naturally occurring NADPH-dependent glutamate dehydrogenases differs from that adopted in E243K or E243D and in other dehydrogenases.

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