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Catalytic Mechanism of Limonene Epoxide Hydrolase, a Theoretical Study

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journal contribution
posted on 19.10.2005, 00:00 authored by Kathrin H. Hopmann, B. Martin Hallberg, Fahmi Himo
The catalytic mechanism of limonene epoxide hydrolase (LEH) was investigated theoretically using the density functional theory method B3LYP. LEH is part of a novel limonene degradation pathway found in Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14, where it catalyzes the hydrolysis of limonene-1,2-epoxide to give limonene-1,2-diol. The recent crystal structure of LEH was used to build a model of the LEH active site composed of five amino acids and a crystallographically observed water molecule. With this model, hydrolysis of different substrates was investigated. It is concluded that LEH employs a concerted general acid/general base-catalyzed reaction mechanism involving protonation of the substrate by Asp101, nucleophilic attack by water on the epoxide, and abstraction of a proton from water by Asp132. Furthermore, we provide an explanation for the experimentally observed regioselective hydrolysis of the four stereoisomers of limonene-1,2-epoxide.