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Using site directed mutagenesis combined with chemical modification, we have developed a general and versatile method for the glycosylation of proteins which is virtually unlimited in the scope of proteins and glycans that may be conjugated and in which the site of glycosylation and the nature of the introduced glycan can be carefully controlled. We have demonstrated the applicability of this method through the synthesis of a library of 48 glycosylated forms of the serine protease subtilisin Bacillus lentus (SBL) as single, pure species. As part of our ongoing program to tailor the activity of SBL for use in peptide synthesis, we have screened these enzymes for activity against the esterase substrate succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-S-benzyl. Gratifyingly, 22 enzymes displayed greater than wild type (WT) activity. Glycosylation at positions 62, in the S2 pocket, resulted in five glycosylated forms of SBL that were 1.3- to 1.9-fold more active than WT. At position 217, in the S1' pocket, all glycosylations increased kcat/KM up to a remarkable 8.4-fold greater than WT for the glucosylated enzyme L217C-S-beta-Glc(Ac)3. Furthermore, the ratio of amidase to esterase activity, (kcat/KM)esterase/(kcat/KM)amidase (E/A), is increased relative to wild type for all 48 glycosylated forms of SBL. Again, the most dramatic changes are observed at positions 62 and 217 and L217C-S-beta-Glc(Ac)3 has an E/A that is 17.2-fold greater than WT. The tailored specificity and high activity of this glycoform can be rationalized by molecular modeling analysis, which suggests that the carbohydrate moiety occupies the S1' leaving group pocket and enhances the rate of deacylation of the acyl-enzyme intermediate. These glycosylated enzymes are ideal candidates for use as catalysts in peptide synthesis as they have greatly increased (kcat,KM)esterase and severely reduced (kcat/KM)amidase and will favor the formation of the amide bond over hydrolysis.

Original publication




Journal article


Bioorg Med Chem

Publication Date





1537 - 1544


Acetylation, Amidohydrolases, Bacillus, Binding Sites, Combinatorial Chemistry Techniques, Esterases, Glycoproteins, Glycosylation, Kinetics, Models, Molecular, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Structure-Activity Relationship, Subtilisin