Dipeptides have unique physiological functions. This study focused on the salt-taste-enhancing dipeptide Met-Gly. BL00235, an L-amino acid ligase from Bacillus licheniformis NBRC12200, synthesizes Met-Gly as a major product as well as Met-Met as a by-product. To alter the substrate specificity of BL00235 and synthesize Met-Gly selectively, we chose to alter Pro85 residue based on the BL00235 crystal structure. We predicted that Met might be not recognized as a C-terminal substrate by occupying the space around C-terminal substrate. Pro85 was replaced with Phe, Tyr, and Trp, which have bulky aromatic side chains, by site-directed mutagenesis. These mutants lost the capacity to synthesize Met-Met, during the synthesis of Met-Gly. Furthermore, they did not synthesize Met-Met, even when methionine was used as a substrate. These results show that the amino acid residue at position 85 has a key role in C-terminal substrate specificity.
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