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The Directive of the Protein: How Does Cytochrome P450 Select the Mechanism of Dopamine Formation?

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-05-25, 00:00 authored by Patric Schyman, Wenzhen Lai, Hui Chen, Yong Wang, Sason Shaik
Dopamine can be generated from tyramine via arene hydroxylation catalyzed by a cytochrome P450 enzyme (CYP2D6). Our quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) results reveal the decisive impact of the protein in selecting the ‘best’ reaction mechanism. Instead of the traditional Meisenheimer-complex mechanism, the study reveals a mechanism involving an initial hydrogen atom transfer from the phenolic hydroxyl group of the tyramine to the iron-oxo of the compound I (Cpd I), followed by a ring−π radical rebound that eventually leads to dopamine by keto–enol rearrangement. This mechanism is not viable in the gas phase since the O–H bond activation by Cpd I is endothermic and the process does not form a stable intermediate. By contrast, the in-protein reaction has a low barrier and is exothermic. It is shown that the local electric field of the protein environment serves as a template that stabilizes the intermediate of the H-abstraction step and thereby mediates the catalysis of dopamine formation at a lower energy cost. Furthermore, it is shown that external electric fields can either catalyze or inhibit the process depending on their directionality.

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