The role of rigid residues in modulating TEM-1 β-lactamase function and thermostability

Bethany Kolbaba-kartchner, I. Can Kazan, Jeremy H. Mills, S. Banu Ozkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between protein motions (i.e., dynamics) and enzymatic function has begun to be explored in β-lactamases as a way to advance our understanding of these proteins. In a recent study, we analyzed the dynamic profiles of TEM-1 (a ubiquitous class A β-lactamase) and several ancestrally reconstructed homologues. A chief finding of this work was that rigid residues that were allosterically coupled to the active site appeared to have profound effects on enzyme function, even when separated from the active site by many angstroms. In the present work, our aim was to further explore the implications of protein dynamics on β-lactamase function by altering the dynamic profile of TEM-1 using computational protein design methods. The Rosetta software suite was used to mutate amino acids surrounding either rigid residues that are highly coupled to the active site or to flexible residues with no apparent communication with the active site. Experimental characterization of ten designed proteins indicated that alteration of residues surrounding rigid, highly coupled residues, substantially affected both enzymatic activity and stability; in contrast, native-like activities and stabilities were maintained when flexible, uncoupled residues, were targeted. Our results provide additional insight into the structure-function relationship present in the TEM family of β-lactamases. Furthermore, the integration of computational protein design methods with analyses of protein dynamics represents a general approach that could be used to extend our understanding of the relationship between dynamics and function in other enzyme classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2895
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • Allostery
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Protein dynamics
  • Protein engineering
  • β-lactamases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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