The mutant penicillin G acylase (PGA) 3K-PGA contains three additional Lys residues on the surface opposite the active site. This protein was designed to selectively drive its immobilization on aldehyde supports. We describe here a modified bottom-up proteomic method to assess the orientation of the immobilized wild-type and mutant proteins to verify our hypothesis of a driven immobilization induced by the mutations introduced. Tryptic digestion of the immobilized enzymes followed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis of released peptides was performed. This protocol generated peptides from the most accessible surface areas of the immobilized protein, thus not directly bound to the solid support, providing direct evidence of the areas involved in the linkage to the solid matrix. The results obtained suggest that 72 % of the wild-type PGA is immobilized on aldehyde agarose mainly through the Lys residues on the same side of the active site, whereas 3K-PGA reacted with the same support preferentially through the additional Lys residues introduced by mutation on the opposite side. This demonstrates that the active site of the 3K-PGA faces mostly (63 %) toward the reaction medium, resulting in significantly improved accessibility to the substrates. This finding is supported by the catalytic properties of the immobilized biocatalysts. The two immobilized preparations were tested in the synthesis of mandelyl-7-aminocephalosporanic acid (mandelyl-7-ACA) by N-acylation of the β-lactam nucleus (7-aminocephalosporanic acid) with mandelic acid methyl ester: upon immobilization, the synthetic properties of wild-type PGA strongly decreased, whereas those of 3K-PGA were unaffected. Furthermore, the activity of 3K-PGA was not influenced by the physicochemical nature of the support used for immobilization (glyoxyl agarose or aldehyde Sepabeads) unlike that of wild-type PGA, whose active site is close to the matrix. The results obtained from the analytical characterization correlate well with those obtained by investigation of the synthetic properties of the immobilized enzymes both in the synthesis of mandelyl-7-ACA and in the preparative synthesis of cefazolin. This work highlights the effect exerted by site-directed mutagenesis on the orientation of PGA upon immobilization on solid matrices and suggests how protein engineering tools can be exploited in a synergistic fashion to rationally develop efficient biocatalysts.
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