Catalytic Adaptation of Psychrophilic Elastase
The class I pancreatic elastase from Atlantic salmon is considered to be a cold-adapted enzyme in view of the cold habitat, the reduced thermostability of the enzyme, and the fact that it is faster than its mesophilic porcine counterpart at room temperature. However, no experimental characterization of its catalytic properties at lower temperatures has actually been reported. Here we use extensive computer simulations of its catalytic reaction, at diff erent temperatures and with diff erent peptide substrates, to compare its characteristics with those of porcine pancreatic elastase, with which it shares 67% sequence identity. We fi nd that both enzymes have a preference for smaller aliphatic residues at the P1 position, while the reaction rate with phenylalanine at P1 is predicted to be substantially lower. With the former class of substrates, the calculated reaction rates for salmon enzyme are consistently higher than those of the porcine ortholog at all temperatures examined, and the diff erence is most pronounced at the lowest temperature. As observed for other cold-adapted enzymes, this is caused by redistribution of the activation free energy in terms of enthalpy and entropy and can be linked to diff erences in the mobility of surface-exposed loops in the two enzymes. Such mobility changes are found to be refl ected by characteristic sequence conservation patterns in psychrophilic and mesophilic species. Hence, calculations of mutations in a single surface loop show that the temperature dependence of the catalytic reaction is altered in a predictable way.