Molecular structure of a barley alpha-amylase-inhibitor complex: implications for starch binding and catalysis

Anders Kadziola, Morten Søgaard, Birte Svensson, Richard Haser

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


alpha-Amylases are widely occurring, multidomain proteins with a catalytic (beta/alpha)8-barrel. In barley alpha-amylase, insight into the catalytic mechanism is gained from the X-ray crystal structure of its molecular complex with acarbose, a pseudotetrasaccharide that acts like a transition-state analogue and which is shown to bind at two specific regions of the enzyme. The structure of the complex has been refined to an R-factor of 15.1% for all observations with Fo>sigma(Fo) between 10 and 2.8 A resolution. A difference Fourier map produced after refinement of the native structure against the data of the acarbose complex clearly revealed density corresponding to two oligosaccharide-binding sites. One of these is defined as the surface-located starch granule-binding site characteristic of cereal alpha-amylases. It involves stacking of two acarbose rings on Trp276 and Trp277. The other binding region is the active site covering subsites -1, +1 and +2. Here, Glu204 is positioned to act in general acid/base catalysis protonating the glucosidic oxygen atom assisted by Asp289. A water molecule that bridges Glu204 and Asp289 is found at the entrance cavity containing a total of five water molecules. This water molecule is proposed to reprotonate Glu204 and supply the hydroxyl ion for nucleophilic attack on the glucosyl C1 atom. Asp 179 acts as the nucleophile that can bind covalently to the substrate intermediate after bond cleavage. The present complex structure together with the conservation of active-site residues among alpha-amylases and related enzymes, are consistent with a common catalytic mechanism for this class of retaining carbohydrases. Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Pages (from-to)205-217
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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