Complex between carboxypeptidase A and a hydrated ketomethylene substrate analogue.

G. Shoham*, D. W. Christianson, D. A. Oren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The complex of carboxypeptidase A (CPA) with 5-amino-(N-t-butoxycarbonyl)-2-benzyl-4-oxo-6-phenylhexanoic acid (BBP), the ketomethylene substrate analogue of the peptide substrate N-(t-butoxycarbonyl)-L-phenylalanyl-L-phenylalanine, was studied by x-ray crystallographic methods. Interestingly, the enzyme specifically binds only one of four stereoisomers of BBP that were present in the buffer solution in which the CPA crystals were soaked. Furthermore, the species observed to bind to the enzyme is the hydrated form of the ketone. This is rather surprising since the hydrated form of BBP is expected to be present in aqueous solution at a concentration of less than 0.2%. Hence, the enzyme-inhibitor complex is most stable with a species resembling a structure along the reaction coordinate of a chemical reaction rather than a species resembling a reactant or a product. Important structural information regarding the catalytic conformations of active-site residues spanning the S'1-S2 subsites of the enzyme is provided from the results of these x-ray diffraction experiments. The structure of the CPA-hydrated BBP complex provides support for a promoted-water hydrolytic mechanism, although it is not certain whether the enzyme has actually participated in the hydration reaction at the ketone carbonyl of BBP.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)684-688
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1988


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