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J Chem Inf Model. 2014 Jul 28;54(7):2079-92. doi: 10.1021/ci500126x. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

Computationally efficient and accurate enantioselectivity modeling by clusters of molecular dynamics simulations.

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Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen , Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Computational approaches could decrease the need for the laborious high-throughput experimental screening that is often required to improve enzymes by mutagenesis. Here, we report that using multiple short molecular dynamics (MD) simulations makes it possible to accurately model enantioselectivity for large numbers of enzyme-substrate combinations at low computational costs. We chose four different haloalkane dehalogenases as model systems because of the availability of a large set of experimental data on the enantioselective conversion of 45 different substrates. To model the enantioselectivity, we quantified the frequency of occurrence of catalytically productive conformations (near attack conformations) for pairs of enantiomers during MD simulations. We found that the angle of nucleophilic attack that leads to carbon-halogen bond cleavage was a critical variable that limited the occurrence of productive conformations; enantiomers for which this angle reached values close to 180° were preferentially converted. A cluster of 20-40 very short (10 ps) MD simulations allowed adequate conformational sampling and resulted in much better agreement to experimental enantioselectivities than single long MD simulations (22 ns), while the computational costs were 50-100 fold lower. With single long MD simulations, the dynamics of enzyme-substrate complexes remained confined to a conformational subspace that rarely changed significantly, whereas with multiple short MD simulations a larger diversity of conformations of enzyme-substrate complexes was observed.

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