Quantum Chemical Modeling of Binuclear Zinc Enzymes
Abstract: In the present thesis, the reaction mechanisms of several di-zinc hydrolases have been explored using quantum chemical modeling of the enzyme active sites. The studied enzymes are phosphotriesterase (PTE), aminopeptidase from Aeromonas proteolytica (AAP), glyoxalase II (GlxII), and alkaline phosphatase (AP). All of them contain a binuclear divalent zinc core in the active site. The density functional theory (DFT) method B3LYP functional was employed in the investigations. The potential energy surfaces (PESs) for various reaction pathways have been mapped and the involved transition states and intermediates have been characterized. The hydrolyses of different types of substrates were examined, including phosphate esters (PTE and AP) and the substrates containing carbonyl group (AAP and GlxII). The roles of zinc ions and individual active-site residues were analyzed and general features of di-zinc enzymes have been characterized.The bridging hydroxide stabilized by two zinc ions has been confirmed to be capable of the nucleophile in the hydrolysis reactions. PTE, AAP, and GlxII all employ the bridging hydroxide as the direct nucleophile. Furthermore, it is shown that either one of or both zinc ions provide the main catalytic power by stabilizing the negative charge developing during the reaction and thereby lowering the barriers. In the cases of GlxII and AP, one of zinc ions also contributes to the catalysis by stabilizing the leaving group. These features perfectly satisfy the two requisites for the hydrolysis, i.e. sufficient nucleophilicity and stabilization of charge. A competing mechanism, in which the bridging hydroxide acts as a base, was shown to have significantly higher barrier in the case of PTE.For phosphate hydrolysis reactions, it is important to characterize the nature of the transition states involved in the reactions. Associative mechanisms were observed for both PTE and AP. The former uses a step-wise associative pathway via a penta-coordinated intermediate, while the latter proceeds through a concerted associative path via penta-coordinated transition states.Finally, with PTE as a test case, systematic evaluation of the computational performance of the quantum chemical modeling approach has been performed. This assessment, coupled with other results of this thesis, provide an effective demonstration of the usefulness and powerfulness of quantum chemical active-site modeling in the exploration of enzyme reaction mechanisms and in the characterization of the transition states involved.
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