Water in the active site of ketosteroid isomerase

Philip Hanoian, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer

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8 Scopus citations


Classical molecular dynamics simulations were utilized to investigate the structural and dynamical properties of water in the active site of ketosteroid isomerase (KSI) to provide insight into the role of these water molecules in the enzyme-catalyzed reaction. This reaction is thought to proceed via a dienolate intermediate that is stabilized by hydrogen bonding with residues Tyr16 and Asp103. A comparative study was performed for the wild-type (WT) KSI and the Y16F, Y16S, and Y16F/Y32F/Y57F (FFF) mutants. These systems were studied with three different bound ligands: equilenin, which is an intermediate analog, and the intermediate states of two steroid substrates. Several distinct water occupation sites were identified in the active site of KSI for the WT and mutant systems. Three additional sites were identified in the Y16S mutant that were not occupied in WT KSI or the other mutants studied. The number of water molecules directly hydrogen bonded to the ligand oxygen was approximately two in the Y16S mutant and one in the Y16F and FFF mutants, with intermittent hydrogen bonding of one water molecule in WT KSI. The molecular dynamics trajectories of the Y16F and FFF mutants reproduced the small conformational changes of residue 16 observed in the crystal structures of these two mutants. Quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical calculations of 1H NMR chemical shifts of the protons in the active site hydrogen-bonding network suggest that the presence of water in the active site does not prevent the formation of short hydrogen bonds with far-downfield chemical shifts. The molecular dynamics simulations indicate that the active site water molecules exchange much more frequently for WT KSI and the FFF mutant than for the Y16F and Y16S mutants. This difference is most likely due to the hydrogen-bonding interaction between Tyr57 and an active site water molecule that is persistent in the Y16F and Y16S mutants but absent in the FFF mutant and significantly less probable in WT KSI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6689-6700
Number of pages12
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 9 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry


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