Identification of Active Site Residues Essential to 4-Chlorobenzoyl−Coenzyme A Dehalogenase Catalysis by Chemical Modification and Site Directed Mutagenesis

4-Chlorobenzoyl−coenzyme A (4-CBA−CoA) dehalogenase catalyzes the hydrolysis of 4-CBA−CoA to 4-hydroxybenzoyl−coenzyme A (4-HBA−CoA) via a nucleophilic aromatic substitution pathway involving the participation of an active site carboxylate side chain in covalent catalysis. In this paper we report on the identification of conserved aspartate, histidine, and tryptophan residues essential to 4-CBA−CoA catalysis using chemical modification and site-directed mutagenesis techniques. Treatment of the dehalogenase with diethyl pyrocarbonate resulted in complete loss of catalytic activity (kinact = 0.17 mM-1 min-1 at pH 6.5, 25 °C) that was fully regained by subsequent treatment with hydroxylamine. The protection from inactivation afforded by enzyme bound 4-HBA−CoA indicated that the essential histidine residues are located at the active site. Replacement of conserved histidine residues 81, 90, 94, and 208 with glutamine residues resulted in a significant loss of catalytic activity only in the cases of the histidine 81 and 90 mutants. Substrate and product ligand binding studies showed that binding is not significantly inhibited in these mutants. Site directed mutagenesis of a selection of conserved aspartate and glutamate residues, identified aspartate 145 as being essential to dehalogenase catalysis. Ligand binding studies showed that this residue is not required for tight substrate/product binding. Chemical modification of the dehalogenase with N-bromosuccinimide resulted in full loss of catalytic activity that was prevented by saturation of the active site with product ligand, providing evidence favoring an essential active site tryptophan. Phenylalanine replacement of conserved tryptophan residues 179 and 137 reduced catalytic activity only in the latter (kcat = 0.03% of wild-type dehalogenase). On the basis of these results and the recently determined X-ray crystal structure of the complex of 4-CBA−CoA dehalogenase and 4-HBA−CoA [Benning, M. M., Taylor, K. L., Liu, R.-Q., Yang, G., Xiang, H., Wesenberg, G., Dunaway-Mariano, D., Holden, H. M. (1996) Biochemistry 35, 8103−8109] we propose that aspartate 145 functions as the active site nucleophile, that tryptophan 137 serves as a hydrogen bond donor to the aspartate 145 CO, and that histidine 90 serves to deprotonate the bound H2O molecule.