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Connecting Protein Conformational Dynamics with Catalytic Function As Illustrated in Dihydrofolate Reductase

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 15:45 by Yao Fan, Alessandro Cembran, Shuhua Ma, Jiali Gao
Combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics molecular dynamics simulations reveal that the M20 loop conformational dynamics of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is severely restricted at the transition state of the hydride transfer as a result of the M42W/G121V double mutation. Consequently, the double-mutant enzyme has a reduced entropy of activation, i.e., increased entropic barrier, and altered temperature dependence of kinetic isotope effects in comparison with those of wild-type DHFR. Interestingly, in both wild-type DHFR and the double mutant, the average donor–acceptor distances are essentially the same in the Michaelis complex state (∼3.5 Å) and the transition state (2.7 Å). It was found that an additional hydrogen bond is formed to stabilize the M20 loop in the closed conformation in the M42W/G121V double mutant. The computational results reflect a similar aim designed to knock out precisely the dynamic flexibility of the M20 loop in a different double mutant, N23PP/S148A.