Alteration of Hydrogen Bonding in the Vicinity of Histidine 48 Disrupts Millisecond Motions in RNase A
The motion of amino acid residues on the millisecond (ms) time scale is involved in the tight regulation of catalytic function in numerous enzyme systems. Using a combination of mutational, enzymological, and relaxation-compensated 15N Carr−Purcell−Meiboom−Gill (CPMG) methods, we have previously established the conformational significance of the distant His48 residue and the neighboring loop 1 in RNase A function. These studies suggested that RNase A relies on an intricate network of hydrogen bonding interactions involved in propagating functionally relevant, long-range ms motions to the catalytic site of the enzyme. To further investigate the dynamic importance of this H-bonding network, this study focuses on the individual replacement of Thr17 and Thr82 with alanine, effectively altering the key H-bonding interactions that connect loop 1 and His48 to the rest of the protein. 15N CPMG dispersion studies, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) chemical shift analysis, and NMR line shape analysis of point mutants T17A and T82A demonstrate that the evolutionarily conserved single H-bond linking His48 to Thr82 is essential for propagating ms motions from His48 to the active site of RNase A on the time scale of catalytic turnover, whereas the T17A mutation increases the off rate and conformational exchange motions in loop 1. Accumulating evidence from our mutational studies indicates that residues experiencing conformational exchange in RNase A can be grouped into two separate clusters displaying distinct dynamical features, which appear to be independently affected by mutation. Overall, this study illuminates how tightly controlled and finely tuned ms motions are in RNase A, suggesting that designed modulation of protein motions may be possible.