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J Mol Biol. 2004 Mar 12;337(1):227-39.

Computational modeling of the catalytic reaction in triosephosphate isomerase.

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Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


We present a comprehensive analysis of the catalytic cycle of the enzyme triosephosphate isomerase (TIM), including both the reactive chemistry and the catalytic loop and side-chain motions. Combining accurate mixed quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) and protein structure prediction methods, we have modeled both the structural and chemical aspects of the reversible isomerization of dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) to d-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (GAP), for which there is a wealth of experimental data. The conjunction of this novel computational approach with the use of the recent near-atomic resolution TIM-DHAP Michaelis complex PDB structure, 1NEY.pdb, has enabled us to obtain robust qualitative and, where available, quantitative agreement with a wide range of experimental data. Among the principal conclusions that we are able to draw are the importance of the monoanionic (as opposed to dianioic) form of the substrate phosphate group in the catalytic cycle, detailed positioning and energetics of the key catalytic residues in the active-site, the flexible nature of Glu165, which favors its direct involvement in the formation of the enediol intermediate, energetics of the open and closed form of the catalytic loop region in the presence and absence of substrate, and quantitative reproduction of various experimentally measured reaction rates, typically to within approximately 1 kcal/mol. Our results are consistent with the available experimental data, and provide an initial picture as to why loop opening when GAP is the product has a higher barrier than when DHAP is the product.

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