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Biophys J. Jul 1996; 71(1): 119–129.
PMCID: PMC1233463

Theoretical investigation of the dynamics of the active site lid in Rhizomucor miehei lipase.


Interfacial activation of Rhizomucor miehei lipase is accompanied by a hinge-type motion of a single helix (residues 83-94) that acts as a lid over the active site. Activation of the enzyme involves the displacement of the lid to expose the active site, suggesting that the dynamics of the lid could be of mechanistic and kinetic importance. To investigate possible activation pathways and to elucidate the effect of a hydrophobic environment (as would be provided by a lipid membrane) on the lid opening, we have applied molecular dynamics and Brownian dynamics techniques. Our results indicate that the lipase activation is enhanced in a hydrophobic environment. In nonpolar low-dielectric surroundings, the lid opens in approximately 100 ns in the BD simulations. In polar high-dielectric (aqueous) surroundings, the lid does not always open up in simulations of up to 900 ns duration, but it does exhibit some gating motion, suggesting that the enzyme molecule may exist in a partially active form before the catalytic reaction. The activation is controlled by the charged residues ARG86 and ASP91. In the inactive conformation, ASP91 experiences repulsive forces and pushes the lid toward the open conformation. Upon activation ARG86 approaches ASP61, and in the active conformation, these residues form a salt bridge that stabilizes the open conformation.

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