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Protein Sci. 2002 May;11(5):1206-17.

Functionally relevant motions of haloalkane dehalogenases occur in the specificity-modulating cap domains.

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Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Palacky University, 771 46 Olomouc, Czech Republic.


One-nanosecond molecular dynamics trajectories of three haloalkane dehalogenases (DhlA, LinB, and DhaA) are compared. The main domain was rigid in all three dehalogenases, whereas the substrate specificity-modulating cap domains showed considerably higher mobility. The functionally relevant motions were spread over the entire cap domain in DhlA, whereas they were more localized in LinB and DhaA. The highest amplitude of essential motions of DhlA was noted in the alpha4'-helix-loop-alpha4-helix region, formerly proposed to participate in the large conformation change needed for product release. The highest amplitude of essential motions of LinB and DhaA was observed in the random coil before helix 4, linking two domains of these proteins. This flexibility is the consequence of the modular composition of haloalkane dehalogenases. Two members of the catalytic triad, that is, the nucleophile and the base, showed a very high level of rigidity in all three dehalogenases. This rigidity is essential for their function. One of the halide-stabilizing residues, important for the catalysis, shows significantly higher flexibility in DhlA compared with LinB and DhaA. Enhanced flexibility may be required for destabilization of the electrostatic interactions during the release of the halide ion from the deeply buried active site of DhlA. The exchange of water molecules between the enzyme active site and bulk solvent was very different among the three dehalogenases. The differences could be related to the flexibility of the cap domains and to the number of entrance tunnels.

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