The dimethyl ester of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease-A (dimethyl RNAase-A), the initial product of esterification of RNAase-A in anhydrous methanolic HCl, was isolated in a homogeneous form. The two carboxy functions esterified in this derivative are those of glutamic acid-49 and aspartic acid-53. There were no changes in the u.v.-absorption spectral characteristics, the accessibility of the methionine residues, the resistance of the protein to proteolysis by trypsin and the antigenic behaviour of RNAase-A as a result of the esterification of these two carboxy groups. Dimethyl RNAase-A exhibited only 65% of the specific activity of RNAase-A, but still had the same Km value for both RNA and 2′:3′-cyclic CMP. However, the Vmax. was decreased by about 35%. On careful hydrolysis of the methyl ester groups at pH9.5, dimethyl RNAase-A was converted back into RNAase-A. Limited proteolysis of dimethyl RNAase-A by subtilisin resulted in the formation of an active RNAase-S-type derivative, namely dimethyl RNAase-S, which was chromatographically distinct from dimethyl RNAase-A and had very nearly the same enzymic activity as dimethyl RNAase-A. Fractionation of dimethyl RNAase-S by trichloroacetic acid yielded dimethyl RNAase-S-protein and dimethyl RNAase-S-peptide, both of which were inactive by themselves but regenerated dimethyl RNAase-S when mixed together. Dimethyl RNAase-A-peptide was identical with RNAase-S-peptide. RNAase-S-protein could be generated from dimethyl RNAase-S-protein by careful hydrolysis of the methyl ester groups at pH9.5. The interaction of dimethyl RNAase-S-protein with RNAase-S-peptide appears to be about 4-fold weaker than that between the RNAase-S-protein and RNAase-S-peptide. Conceivably, the binding of the S-peptide ‘tail’ of dimethyl RNAase-A with the remainder of the molecule is similarly weaker than that in RNAase-A, and this brings about subtle changes in the geometrical orientation of the active-site amino acid residues of these modified methyl ester derivatives. It is suggested that these changes could be responsible for the generation of the catalytically less-efficient RNAase-A and RNAase-S molecules (dimethyl RNAase-A and dimethyl RNAase-S respectively).

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.