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Protein & Peptide Letters


ISSN (Print): 0929-8665
ISSN (Online): 1875-5305

Distinction Between Esterases and Lipases: Comparative Biochemical Properties of Sequence-Related Carboxylesterases

Author(s): H. Chahiniana and L. Sarda

Volume 16, Issue 10, 2009

Page: [1149 - 1161] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/092986609789071333

Price: $65


Carboxylesterases (Carboxyl ester hydrolase) include two groups of enzymes, namely non-specific esterases (EC and lipases (EC which have been early differentiated on the basis of their substrate specificity. Esterases hydrolyse solutions of water-soluble short acyl chain esters and are inactive against water-insoluble long chain triacylglycerols which, in turn, are specifically hydrolyzed by lipases. Based on the comparison of the primary structures, three families of sequence-related carboxylesterases, namely the lipoprotein lipase family (L-family), the hormonesensitive lipase family (H-family) and the cholinesterase family (C-family) have been identified. Using solutions and emulsions of vinyl, glyceryl and p-nitrophenyl esters, we have reinvestigated the kinetic properties of some esterases and lipases of the H- and C-families. Results indicate that esterases and lipases, which are both active on soluble esters, can be differentiated by their value of Km. Moreover, esterase, unlike lipases, are inactive against water-insoluble esters as vinyl laurate and trioctanoylglycerol. From the the comparison of structural features of sequence-related esterases and lipases, it appears that lipases, unlike esterases, display a significant difference in the distribution of hydrophobic amino acid residues at vicinity of their active site. This observation supports the hypothesis of the existence in lipases of a particular surface domain that specifically interacts with lipid-water interfaces and contributes to the transfer a single substrate molecule from the organized lipid-water interface (supersubstrate) to the catalytic site of the enzyme.

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