Structure-Function Analysis of Grapefruit Glucosyltransferase Protein – Identification of Key Amino Acid Residues for its Rigid Substrate Specificity

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Flavonoids are an important class of secondary metabolites widely distributed in plants. The majority of naturally occurring flavonoids are found in glucosylated form. Glucosyltransferases are enzymes that enable transfer of glucose from an activated donor (UDP-glucose) to the acceptor flavonoid substrates. A flavonol specific glucosyltransferase cloned from Citrus paradisi (Cp3OGT) has strict substrate and regiospecificity. In this study, amino acid residues that could potentially alter the rigidity observed in this enzyme were mutated to position equivalent residues of a putative anthocyanin specific glucosyltransferase from Clitorea ternatea and a GT from Vitis vinifera that can glucosylate both flavonols and anthocyanidins. Using homology modeling followed by site directed mutagenesis to identify candidate regions, three double mutations were made. To test the basis of substrate specificity, biochemical analysis of the three recombinant mutant proteins was carried out. Recombinant protein with mutation S20G+T21S revealed that the enzyme retained activity similar to the wildtype (Cp3OGT) (WT- Km app-104.8 µM; Vmax = 24.6 pmol/min/µg, Mutant- Km app-136.42 µM; Vmax -25pmol/min/µg) but the mutant was more thermostable compared to the WT. The (S290C+S319A) mutant protein retained 40% activity relative to wildtype and has an optimum pH shifted towards the acidic side (pH 6) (Km app-8.27 µM; Vmax-90.9 pmol/min/µg). Mutation of Glutamine87 and Histine154 (H154Y+Q87I) have rendered this recombinant protein inactive with every class of flavonoid tested. Interestingly, the single point mutations H154Y and Q871I had significant activity, slightly greater than that of wildtype enzyme. The two active recombinant proteins will further be analyzed to determine whether the mutations have altered regiospecificity of the original enzyme. Product identification is being conducted using HPLC.


Johnson City, TN

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