Activity of tethered human immunodeficiency virus 1 protease containing mutations in the flap region of one subunit

József Tözsér, Fay H. Yin, Yin Shyun E. Cheng, Péter Bagossi, Irene T. Weber, Robert W. Harrison, Stephen Oroszlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The tethered-dimer protease of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) [Cheng Y.-S.E., Yin, F.H., Foundling, S., Blomstrom, D. and Kettner, C.A. (1990) Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 87, 9660-9664] and its mutants containing amino acid substitutions or deletions or both in only one flap region were expressed in Escherichia coli. These mutant enzymes showed various degrees of self-processing and significantly reduced catalytic activity toward oligopeptide substrates compared with the wild type. Kinetic parameters determined for one of the oligopeptide substrates showed a dramatic increase in K(m) and decrease in k(cat) values. Unexpectedly, the substrate cleavage was more efficient in low salt concentration for a mutant containing a shortened hydrophilic flap. Assays with oligopeptides representing naturally occurring cleavage sites or oligopeptides containing single amino acid substitutions at the P2 and P2' substrate positions showed only moderate changes in the substrate specificity of the mutant proteases. Predicted structures for the mutants were constructed by molecular modeling and used to interpret the results of kinetic measurements. In general, the data suggest that the mutated part of the flaps does not have a major role in determining substrate specificity; rather, it provides the hydrophobic environment and hydrogen-bond interactions with the conserved water that are necessary for efficient substrate binding and catalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997



  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Flap mutants
  • Human immunodeficiency virus protease
  • Oligopeptide substrate
  • Substrate specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

Cite this