Complete hydrolytic degradation of starch requires hydrolysis of both the α-1,4- and α-1,6-glucosidic bonds in amylopectin. Limit dextrinase (LD) is the only endogenous barley enzyme capable of hydrolyzing the α-1,6-glucosidic bond during seed germination, and impaired LD activity inevitably reduces the maltose and glucose yields from starch degradation. Crystal structures of barley LD and active-site mutants with natural substrates, products and substrate analogues were sought to better understand the facets of LD-substrate interactions that αconfine high activity of LD to branched maltooligosaccharides. For the first time, an intact α-1,6-glucosidically linked substrate spanning the active site of a LD or pullulanase has been trapped and characterized by crystallography. The crystal structure reveals both the branch and main-chain binding sites and is used to suggest a mechanism for nucleophilicity enhancement in the active site. The substrate, product and analogue complexes were further used to outline substrate binding subsites and substrate binding restraints and to suggest a mechanism for avoidance of dual α-1,6- and α-1,4-hydrolytic activity likely to be a biological necessity during starch synthesis.
- Substrate specificity