Catalytic efficiency of enzymes: A theoretical analysis

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Abstract

This brief review analyzes the underlying physical principles of enzyme catalysis, with an emphasis on the role of equilibrium enzyme motions and conformational sampling. The concepts are developed in the context of three representative systems, namely, dihydrofolate reductase, ketosteroid isomerase, and soybean lipoxygenase. All of these reactions involve hydrogen transfer, but many of the concepts discussed are more generally applicable. The factors that are analyzed in this review include hydrogen tunneling, proton donor-acceptor motion, hydrogen bonding, pKa shifting, electrostatics, preorganization, reorganization, and conformational motions. The rate constant for the chemical step is determined primarily by the free energy barrier, which is related to the probability of sampling configurations conducive to the chemical reaction. According to this perspective, stochastic thermal motions lead to equilibrium conformational changes in the enzyme and ligands that result in configurations favorable for the breaking and forming of chemical bonds. For proton, hydride, and proton-coupled electron transfer reactions, typically the donor and acceptor become closer to facilitate the transfer. The impact of mutations on the catalytic rate constants can be explained in terms of the factors enumerated above. In particular, distal mutations can alter the conformational motions of the enzyme and therefore the probability of sampling configurations conducive to the chemical reaction. Methods such as vibrational Stark spectroscopy, in which environmentally sensitive probes are introduced site-specifically into the enzyme, provide further insight into these aspects of enzyme catalysis through a combination of experiments and theoretical calculations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2012-2020
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry
Volume52
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 26 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry

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