Hybrid quantum/classical molecular dynamics simulations of the proton transfer reactions catalyzed by ketosteroid isomerase: analysis of hydrogen bonding, conformational motions, and electrostatics. Academic Article uri icon


  • Hybrid quantum/classical molecular dynamics simulations of the two proton transfer reactions catalyzed by ketosteroid isomerase are presented. The potential energy surfaces for the proton transfer reactions are described with the empirical valence bond method. Nuclear quantum effects of the transferring hydrogen increase the rates by a factor of approximately 8, and dynamical barrier recrossings decrease the rates by a factor of 3-4. For both proton transfer reactions, the donor-acceptor distance decreases substantially at the transition state. The carboxylate group of the Asp38 side chain, which serves as the proton acceptor and donor in the first and second steps, respectively, rotates significantly between the two proton transfer reactions. The hydrogen-bonding interactions within the active site are consistent with the hydrogen bonding of both Asp99 and Tyr14 to the substrate. The simulations suggest that a hydrogen bond between Asp99 and the substrate is present from the beginning of the first proton transfer step, whereas the hydrogen bond between Tyr14 and the substrate is virtually absent in the first part of this step but forms nearly concurrently with the formation of the transition state. Both hydrogen bonds are present throughout the second proton transfer step until partial dissociation of the product. The hydrogen bond between Tyr14 and Tyr55 is present throughout both proton transfer steps. The active site residues are more mobile during the first step than during the second step. The van der Waals interaction energy between the substrate and the enzyme remains virtually constant along the reaction pathway, but the electrostatic interaction energy is significantly stronger for the dienolate intermediate than for the reactant and product. Mobile loop regions distal to the active site exhibit significant structural rearrangements and, in some cases, qualitative changes in the electrostatic potential during the catalytic reaction. These results suggest that relatively small conformational changes of the enzyme active site and substrate strengthen the hydrogen bonds that stabilize the intermediate, thereby facilitating the proton transfer reactions. Moreover, the conformational and electrostatic changes associated with these reactions are not limited to the active site but rather extend throughout the entire enzyme.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Chakravorty, D. K., Soudackov, A. V., & Hammes-Schiffer, S

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Chakravorty, Dhruva K||Soudackov, Alexander V||Hammes-Schiffer, Sharon

publication date

  • November 2009