Transition-State Interactions in a Promiscuous Enzyme: Sulfate and Phosphate Monoester Hydrolysis by Pseudomonas aeruginosa Arylsulfatase

Bert Van Loo, Ryan Berry, Usa Boonyuen, Mark F. Mohamed, Marko Golicnik, Al Van C. Hengge*, Florian Hollfelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas aeruginosa arylsulfatase (PAS) hydrolyzes sulfate and, promiscuously, phosphate monoesters. Enzyme-catalyzed sulfate transfer is crucial to a wide variety of biological processes, but detailed studies of the mechanistic contributions to its catalysis are lacking. We present linear free energy relationships (LFERs) and kinetic isotope effects (KIEs) of PAS and analyses of active site mutants that suggest a key role for leaving group (LG) stabilization. In LFERs PASWT has a much less negative Brønsted coefficient (βleaving groupobs-Enz = 0.33) than the uncatalyzed reaction (βleaving groupobs = 1.81). This situation is diminished when cationic active site groups are exchanged for alanine. The considerable degree of bond breaking during the transition state (TS) is evidenced by an 18Obridge KIE of 1.0088. LFER and KIE data for several active site mutants point to leaving group stabilization by active site K375, in cooperation with H211. 15N KIEs and the increased sensitivity to leaving group ability of the sulfatase activity in neat D2O (βleaving groupH-D = +0.06) suggest that the mechanism for S-Obridge bond fission shifts, with decreasing leaving group ability, from charge compensation via Lewis acid interactions toward direct proton donation. 18Ononbridge KIEs indicate that the TS for PAS-catalyzed sulfate monoester hydrolysis has a significantly more associative character compared to the uncatalyzed reaction, while PAS-catalyzed phosphate monoester hydrolysis does not show this shift. This difference in enzyme-catalyzed TSs appears to be the major factor favoring specificity toward sulfate over phosphate esters by this promiscuous hydrolase, since other features are either too similar (uncatalyzed TS) or inherently favor phosphate (charge).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1378
Number of pages16
Issue number10
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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