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Adenosine Triphosphate Hydrolysis Mechanism in Kinesin Studied by Combined Quantum-Mechanical/Molecular-Mechanical Metadynamics Simulations

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journal contribution
posted on 19.06.2013, 00:00 by Matthew J. McGrath, I.-F. Will Kuo, Shigehiko Hayashi, Shoji Takada
Kinesin is a molecular motor that hydrolyzes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and moves along microtubules against load. While motility and atomic structures have been well-characterized for various members of the kinesin family, not much is known about ATP hydrolysis inside the active site. Here, we study ATP hydrolysis mechanisms in the kinesin-5 protein Eg5 by using combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics metadynamics simulations. Approximately 200 atoms at the catalytic site are treated by a dispersion-corrected density functional and, in total, 13 metadynamics simulations are performed with their cumulative time reaching ∼0.7 ns. Using the converged runs, we compute free energy surfaces and obtain a few hydrolysis pathways. The pathway with the lowest free energy barrier involves a two-water chain and is initiated by the Pγ–Oβ dissociation concerted with approach of the lytic water to PγO3. This immediately induces a proton transfer from the lytic water to another water, which then gives a proton to the conserved Glu270. Later, the proton is transferred back from Glu270 to HPO42– via another hydrogen-bonded chain. We find that the reaction is favorable when the salt bridge between Glu270 in switch II and Arg234 in switch I is transiently broken, which facilitates the ability of Glu270 to accept a proton. When ATP is placed in the ADP-bound conformation of Eg5, the ATP-Mg moiety is surrounded by many water molecules and Thr107 blocks the water chain, which together make the hydrolysis reaction less favorable. The observed two-water chain mechanisms are rather similar to those suggested in two other motors, myosin and F1-ATPase, raising the possibility of a common mechanism.