Analysis of a new crystal form of procarboxypeptidase B: Further insights into the catalytic mechanism

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A new triclinic crystal structure form of porcine pancreatic procarboxypeptidase B (PCPB) was obtained at higher resolution than the previously known tetragonal crystal structure. This new crystal polymorph has allowed for a corrected, accurate assignment of residues along the polypeptide chain based on the currently available gene sequence information and crystallographic data. The present structure shows unbound PCPB in a distinct molecular packing as compared to the previous benzamidine complexed form. Its catalytically important Tyr248 residue is oriented and hydrogen-bonded to solvent water molecules, and locates the furthest away from the catalytic zinc ion as compared to previous structures. A relatively long stretch of residues flanking Tyr248 and guarding the access to the catalytic zinc ion was found to be sequentially unique to the M14 family of peptidases. Predictions from a normal mode analysis indicated that this stretch of residues belongs to a rigid subdomain in the protein structure. The specific presence of a tyrosyl residue at the most exposed position in this region would allow for a delicate balance between extreme hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity, and affect substrate binding and the kinetic efficiency of the enzyme. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-185
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2010


  • Carboxypeptidase B
  • Crystal polymorphism
  • Enzyme mechanism
  • M14 peptidase family
  • Sequence analysis
  • X-ray crystallography


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