U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta No. 1702 (2004) pp. 67– 77.


Human serum paraoxonase (HuPON1) is a calcium-dependent enzyme that hydrolyzes esters, including organophosphates and lactones, and exhibits anti-atherogenic properties. A few amino acids have been shown to be essential for the enzyme’s arylesterase and organophosphatase activities. Until very recently, a three-dimensional model was not available for HuPON1, so functional roles have not been assigned to those residues. Based on sequence-structure alignment studies, we have folded the amino acid sequence of HuPON1 onto the sixfold β-propeller structure of squid diisopropylfluorophosphatase (DFPase). We tested the validity of this homology model by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and site-directed mutagenesis. Consistent with predictions from the homology model, CD data indicated that the structural composition of purified HuPON1 consists mainly of β-sheets. Mutants of HuPON1 were assayed for enzymatic activity against phenyl acetate and paraoxon. Substitution of residues predicted to be important for substrate binding (L69, H134, F222, and C284), calcium ion coordination (D54, N168, N224, and D269), and catalytic mechanism of HuPON1 (H285) led to enzyme inactivation. Mutants F222Y and H115W exhibited substrate-binding selectivity towards phenyl acetate and paraoxon, respectively. The homology model presented here is very similar to the recently obtained PON1 crystal structure, and has allowed identification of several residues within the enzyme active site.