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  • 1.
    Gustafsson, Camilla
    et al.
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Chemistry, Applied Physical Chemistry.
    Vassiliev, Serguei
    Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, Ontario, Canada.
    Kürten, Charlotte
    KTH, Centres, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab.
    Syrén, Per-Olof
    KTH, Centres, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab. KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology.
    Brinck, Tore
    MD Simulations Reveal Complex Water Paths in Squalene–Hopene Cyclase: Tunnel-Obstructing Mutations Increase the Flow of Water in the Active Site2017In: ACS Omega, ISSN 2470-1343, Vol. 2, no 11, p. 8495-8506Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Squalene–hopene cyclase catalyzes the cyclization of squalene to hopanoids. A previous study has identified a network of tunnels in the protein, where water molecules have been indicated to move. Blocking these tunnels by site-directed mutagenesis was found to change the activation entropy of the catalytic reaction from positive to negative with a concomitant lowering of the activation enthalpy. As a consequence, some variants are faster and others are slower than the wild type (wt) in vitro under optimal reaction conditions for the wt. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been performed for the wt and the variants to investigate how the mutations affect the protein structure and the water flow in the enzyme, hypothetically influencing the activation parameters. Interestingly, the tunnel-obstructing variants are associated with an increased flow of water in the active site, particularly close to the catalytic residue Asp376. MD simulations with the substrate present in the active site indicate that the distance for the rate-determining proton transfer between Asp376 and the substrate is longer in the tunnel-obstructing protein variants than in the wt. On the basis of the previous experimental results and the current MD results, we propose that the tunnel-obstructing variants, at least partly, could operate by a different catalytic mechanism, where the proton transfer may have contributions from a Grotthuss-like mechanism.

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