Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:267 issue:26 pages:18929-18939
Considerable structural similarities are present in a region of approximately 270 amino acids in most known cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) sequences, opening the possibility that this region encodes the catalytic domain of the enzyme. To test this hypothesis, the structure of a high affinity cAMP PDE (cAMP-PDE) was analyzed by deletion mutations and site-directed mutagenesis. A ratPDE3 cDNA was mutated using a strategy based on fragment amplification by polymerase chain reaction. The effect of the introduced mutations was determined by expressing wild type and mutated proteins in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The level of expression of the PDE protein was monitored by immunoblot analysis using two specific cAMP-PDE polyclonal antibodies and by measuring the PDE activity. After removal of a 99-amino acid region at the carboxyl terminus flanking the conserved domain, the protein retains its catalytic activity even though its K(m) and velocity were changed. Internal deletions at the amino terminus of this PDE showed that the enzyme activity was increased when a 97-amino acid fragment (from Tyr49 to Lys145) was removed. Further deletions within the amino terminus produced inactive proteins. Within the domain that appears essential for catalysis, 1 threonine and 2 serine residues are conserved in all PDEs. Substitutions of the invariant threonine (Thr349) present in the most conserved region with alanine, proline, or serine yielded proteins of the correct size and a level of expression comparable to the wild type PDE. However, in both expression systems used, proteins were completely devoid of the ability to hydrolyze cyclic nucleotides, except when the threonine was substituted with a serine. Conversely, mutations of 2 other conserved serine residues (Ser305 and Ser398) present in the catalytic domain either had no effect or produced changes only in K(m) and V(max), but did not abolish catalytic activity. In addition, 2 histidine residues (His278 and His311) present in proximity to Thr349 appeared to be essential for the structure of the catalytic domain, since any substitution performed in these residues yielded an inactive enzyme. Mutations of a serine residue (Ser295) in the region homologous to the cAMP binding site of the regulatory subunit of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase demonstrated that this region does not have the same function in the two proteins. These data provide direct evidence that a 37-kDa domain, which in part corresponds to the region of conservation in all PDEs, contains the catalytic domain, and that threonine and histidine residues are probably involved in catalysis and/or are essential for the conformation of an active enzyme.