Control of enzyme activity by an engineered disulfide bond

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Science  10 Feb 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4892, pp. 792-794
DOI: 10.1126/science.2916125


A novel approach to the control of enzyme catalysis is presented in which a disulfide bond engineered into the active-site cleft of bacteriophage T4 lysozyme is capable of switching the activity on and off. Two cysteines (Thr21----Cys and Thr142----Cys) were introduced by oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis into the active-site cleft. These cysteines spontaneously formed a disulfide bond under oxidative conditions in vitro, and the catalytic activity of the oxidized (cross-linked) T4 lysozyme was completely lost. On exposure to reducing agent, however, the disulfide bond was rapidly broken, and the reduced (non-cross-linked) lysozyme was restored to full activity. Thus an enzyme has been engineered such that redox potential can be used to control catalytic activity.

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