Dehalogenases continue to garner interest of the scientific community due to their potential applications in bioremediation of halogen-contaminated environment and in synthesis of various industrially relevant products. Example of such enzymes is DehL, an L-2-haloacid dehalogenase (EC 188.8.131.52) from Rhizobium sp. RC1 that catalyses the specific cleavage of halide ion from L-2-halocarboxylic acids to produce the corresponding D-2-hydroxycarboxylic acids. Recently, the catalytic residues of DehL have been identified and its catalytic mechanism has been fully elucidated. However, the enantiospecificity determinants of the enzyme remain unclear. This information alongside a well-defined catalytic mechanism are required for rational engineering of DehL for substrate enantiospecificity. Therefore, using quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics and molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area calculations, the current study theoretically investigated the molecular basis of DehL enantiospecificity. The study found that R51L mutation cancelled out the dehalogenation activity of DehL towards it natural substrate, L-2-chloropropionate. The M48R mutation, however introduced a new activity towards D-2-chloropropionate, conveying the possibility of inverting the enantiospecificity of DehL from L-to d-enantiomer with a minimum of two simultaneous mutations. The findings presented here will play important role in the rational design of DehL dehalogenase for improving substrate utility.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.