Quantum Chemical Studies of Enzymatic Reaction Mechanisms

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Organic Chemistry, Stockholm University

Abstract: Computer modeling of enzymes is a valuable complement to experiments. Quantum chemical studies of enzymatic reactions can provide a detailed description of the reaction mechanism and elucidate the roles of various residues in the active site. Different reaction pathways can be analyzed, and their feasibility be established based on calculated energy barriers.In the present thesis, density functional theory has been used to study the active sites and reaction mechanisms of three different enzymes, cytosine deaminase (CDA) from Escherichia coli, ω-transaminase from Chromobacterium violaceum (Cv-ωTA) and dinitrogenase reductase-activating glycohydrolase (DraG) from Rhodospirillum rubrum. The cluster approach has been employed to design models of the active sites based on available crystal structures. The geometries and energies of transition states and intermediates along various reaction pathways have been calculated, and used to construct the energy graphs of the reactions.In the study of CDA (Paper I), two different tautomers of a histidine residue were considered. The obtained reaction mechanism was found to support the main features of the previously proposed mechanism. The sequence of the events was established, and the residues needed for the proton transfer steps were elucidated.In the study of Cv-ωTA (Paper II and Paper III), two active site models were employed to study the conversion of two different substrates, a hydrophobic amine and an amino acid. Differences and similarities in the reaction mechanisms of the two substrates were established, and the role of an arginine residue in the dual substrate recognition was confirmed.In the study of DraG (Paper IV), two different substrate-binding modes and two different protonation states of an aspartate residue were considered. The coordination of the first-shell ligands and the substrate to the two manganese ions in the active site was characterized, and a possible proton donor in the first step of the proposed reaction mechanism was identified.