The structure of methanol dehydrogenase (MDH) at 0.194 nm (1.94 A) has been used to provide a model structure for part of a membrane quinoprotein glucose dehydrogenase (GDH). The basic superbarrel structure is retained, along with the tryptophan-docking motifs. The active-site regions are similar, but there are important differences, the most important being that GDH lacks the novel disulphide ring structure formed from adjacent cysteines in MDH; in GDH the equivalent region is occupied by His-262. Because of the overall similarities in the active-site region, the mechanism of action of GDH is likely to be similar to that of MDH. The differences in co-ordination to the cation and bonding to the pyrrolo-quinoline quinone (PQQ) in the active site may explain the relative ease of dissociation of the prosthetic group from the holo-GDH. There are considerable differences in the external loops, particularly those involved in formation of the shallow funnel leading to the active site, the configuration of which influences substrate specificity. The proposed model is consistent in many respects with previous proposals for the active-site structure based on the effects of chemical modification on binding of PQQ and enzymic activity.

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