The enzymatic catalysis of polymeric substrates such as proteins, polysaccharides or nucleic acids requires precise alignment between the enzyme and the substrate regions flanking the region occupying the active site. In the case of ribonucleases, enzyme-substrate binding may be directed by electrostatic interactions between the phosphate groups of the RNA molecule and basic amino acid residues on the enzyme. Specific interactions between the nitrogenated bases and particular amino acids in the active site or adjacent positions may also take place. The substrate-binding subsites of ribonuclease A have been characterized by structural and kinetic studies. In addition to the active site (p1), the role of other noncatalytic phosphate-binding subsites in the correct alignment of the polymeric substrate has been proposed. p2 and p0 have been described as phosphate-binding subsites that bind the phosphate group adjacent to the 3' side and 5' side, respectively, of the phosphate in the active site. In both cases, basic amino acids (Lys-7 and Arg-10 in p2, and Lys-66 in p0) are involved in binding. However, these binding sites play different roles in the catalytic process of ribonuclease A. The electrostatic interactions in p2 are important both in catalysis and in the endonuclease activity of the enzyme, whilst the p0 electrostatic interaction contributes only to binding of the RNA.
- Binding sites
- Enzyme kinetics