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Biochemistry. 2007 Mar 27;46(12):3704-13. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

A quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics study of the catalytic mechanism of the thymidylate synthase.

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  • 1Departament de Química Física i Analítica, Universitat Jaume I, 12071 Castellón, Spain.

Abstract

A theoretical study of the molecular mechanism of the thymidylate synthase-catalyzed reaction has been carried out using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics methods. We have examined all of the stationary points (reactants, intermediates, transition structures, and products) on the multidimensional potential energy surfaces for the multistep enzymatic process. The characterization of these relevant structures facilitates the gaining of insight into the role of the different residues in the active site. Furthermore, analysis of the full energy profile has revealed that the step corresponding to the reduction of the exocyclic methylene intermediate by hydride transfer from the 6S position of 5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate (H4folate), forming dTMP and 7,8-dihydrofolate (H2folate), is the rate-limiting step, in accordance with the experimental data. In this step, the hydride transfer and the scission of an overall conserved active site cysteine residue (Cys146 in Escherichia coli) take place in a concerted but very asynchronous way. These findings have also been tested with primary and secondary deuterium, tritium, and sulfur kinetic isotope effects, and the calculations have been compared to experimental data. Finally, the incorporation of high-level quantum mechanical corrections to the semiempirical AM1 Hamiltonian into our hybrid scheme has allowed us to obtain reasonable values of the energy barrier for the rate-limiting step. The resulting picture of the complete multistep enzyme mechanism that is obtained reveals several new features of substantial mechanistic interest.

PMID:
17328531
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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