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The interplay between effector binding and allostery in an engineered protein switch

The interplay between effector binding and allostery in an engineered protein switch

Protein Science: a Publication of the Protein Society 25(9): 1605-1616

ISSN/ISBN: 0961-8368

PMID: 27272021

DOI: 10.1002/pro.2962

The protein design rules for engineering allosteric regulation are not well understood. A fundamental understanding of the determinants of ligand binding in an allosteric context could facilitate the design and construction of versatile protein switches and biosensors. Here, we conducted extensive in vitro and in vivo characterization of the effects of 285 unique point mutations at 15 residues in the maltose-binding pocket of the maltose-activated β-lactamase MBP317-347. MBP317-347 is an allosteric enzyme formed by the insertion of TEM-1 β-lactamase into the E. coli maltose binding protein (MBP). We find that the maltose-dependent resistance to ampicillin conferred to the cells by the MBP317-347 switch gene (the switch phenotype) is very robust to mutations, with most mutations slightly improving the switch phenotype. We identified 15 mutations that improved switch performance from twofold to 22-fold, primarily by decreasing the catalytic activity in the absence of maltose, perhaps by disrupting interactions that cause a small fraction of MBP in solution to exist in a partially closed state in the absence of maltose. Other notable mutations include K15D and K15H that increased maltose affinity 30-fold and Y155K and Y155R that compromised switching by diminishing the ability of maltose to increase catalytic activity. The data also provided insights into normal MBP physiology, as select mutations at D14, W62, and F156 retained high maltose affinity but abolished the switch's ability to substitute for MBP in the transport of maltose into the cell. The results reveal the complex relationship between ligand binding and allostery in this engineered switch.

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Accession: 059082102

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