Enzymatic neutralization of the chemical warfare agent VX: evolution of phosphotriesterase for phosphorothiolate hydrolysis

Andrew N Bigley, Chengfu Xu, Terry J Henderson, Steven P Harvey, Frank M Raushel
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013 July 17, 135 (28): 10426-32
The V-type nerve agents (VX and VR) are among the most toxic substances known. The high toxicity and environmental persistence of VX make the development of novel decontamination methods particularly important. The enzyme phosphotriesterase (PTE) is capable of hydrolyzing VX but with an enzymatic efficiency more than 5 orders of magnitude lower than with its best substrate, paraoxon. PTE has previously proven amenable to directed evolution for the improvement of catalytic activity against selected compounds through the manipulation of active-site residues. Here, a series of sequential two-site mutational libraries encompassing 12 active-site residues of PTE was created. The libraries were screened for catalytic activity against a new VX analogue, DEVX, which contains the same thiolate leaving group of VX coupled to a diethoxyphosphate core rather than the ethoxymethylphosphonate core of VX. The evolved catalytic activity with DEVX was enhanced 26-fold relative to wild-type PTE. Further improvements were facilitated by targeted error-prone PCR mutagenesis of loop-7, and additional PTE variants were identified with up to a 78-fold increase in the rate of DEVX hydrolysis. The best mutant hydrolyzed the racemic nerve agent VX with a value of kcat/Km = 7 × 10(4) M(-1) s(-1), a 230-fold improvement relative to wild-type PTE. The highest turnover number achieved by the mutants created for this investigation was 137 s(-1), an enhancement of 152-fold relative to wild-type PTE. The stereoselectivity for the hydrolysis of the two enantiomers of VX was relatively low. These engineered mutants of PTE are the best catalysts ever reported for the hydrolysis of nerve agent VX.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"