Preservation of protein dynamics in dihydrofolate reductase evolution.
ABSTRACT: The hydride transfer reaction catalyzed by dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is a model for examining how protein dynamics contribute to enzymatic function. The relationship between functional motions and enzyme evolution has attracted significant attention. Recent studies on N23PP Escherichia coli DHFR (ecDHFR) mutant, designed to resemble parts of the human enzyme, indicated a reduced single turnover rate. NMR relaxation dispersion experiments with that enzyme showed rigidification of millisecond Met-20 loop motions (Bhabha, G., Lee, J., Ekiert, D. C., Gam, J., Wilson, I. A., Dyson, H. J., Benkovic, S. J., and Wright, P. E. (2011) Science 332, 234-238). A more recent study of this mutant, however, indicated that fast motions along the reaction coordinate are actually more dispersed than for wild-type ecDHFR (WT). Furthermore, a double mutant (N23PP/G51PEKN) that better mimics the human enzyme seems to restore both the single turnover rates and narrow distribution of fast dynamics (Liu, C. T., Hanoian, P., French, T. H., Hammes-Schiffer, S., and Benkovic, S. J. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 10159-11064). Here, we measured intrinsic kinetic isotope effects for both N23PP and N23PP/G51PEKN double mutant DHFRs over a temperature range. The findings indicate that although the C-H?C transfer and dynamics along the reaction coordinate are impaired in the altered N23PP mutant, both seem to be restored in the N23PP/G51PEKN double mutant. This indicates that the evolution of G51PEKN, although remote from the Met-20 loop, alleviated the loop rigidification that would have been caused by N23PP, enabling WT-like H-tunneling. The correlation between the calculated dynamics, the nature of C-H?C transfer, and a phylogenetic analysis of DHFR sequences are consistent with evolutionary preservation of the protein dynamics to enable H-tunneling from well reorganized active sites.
Project description:Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) is used to study fundamental principles of enzyme catalysis. It remains controversial whether fast protein motions are coupled to the hydride transfer catalyzed by ecDHFR. Previous studies with heavy ecDHFR proteins labeled with (13)C, (15)N, and nonexchangeable (2)H reported enzyme mass-dependent hydride transfer kinetics for ecDHFR. Here, we report refined experimental and computational studies to establish that hydride transfer is independent of protein mass. Instead, we found the rate constant for substrate dissociation to be faster for heavy DHFR. Previously reported kinetic differences between light and heavy DHFRs likely arise from kinetic steps other than the chemical step. This study confirms that fast (femtosecond to picosecond) protein motions in ecDHFR are not coupled to hydride transfer and provides an integrative computational and experimental approach to resolve fast dynamics coupled to chemical steps in enzyme catalysis.
Project description:Dihydrofolate reductase has long been used as a model system to study the coupling of protein motions to enzymatic hydride transfer. By studying environmental effects on hydride transfer in dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) from the cold-adapted bacterium Moritella profunda (MpDHFR) and comparing the flexibility of this enzyme to that of DHFR from Escherichia coli (EcDHFR), we demonstrate that factors that affect large-scale (i.e., long-range, but not necessarily large amplitude) protein motions have no effect on the kinetic isotope effect on hydride transfer or its temperature dependence, although the rates of the catalyzed reaction are affected. Hydrogen/deuterium exchange studies by NMR-spectroscopy show that MpDHFR is a more flexible enzyme than EcDHFR. NMR experiments with EcDHFR in the presence of cosolvents suggest differences in the conformational ensemble of the enzyme. The fact that enzymes from different environmental niches and with different flexibilities display the same behavior of the kinetic isotope effect on hydride transfer strongly suggests that, while protein motions are important to generate the reaction ready conformation, an optimal conformation with the correct electrostatics and geometry for the reaction to occur, they do not influence the nature of the chemical step itself; large-scale motions do not couple directly to hydride transfer proper in DHFR.
Project description:The role of fast protein dynamics in enzyme catalysis has been of great interest in the past decade. Recent "heavy enzyme" studies demonstrate that protein mass-modulated vibrations are linked to the energy barrier for the chemical step of catalyzed reactions. However, the role of fast dynamics in the overall catalytic mechanism of an enzyme has not been addressed. Protein mass-modulated effects in the catalytic mechanism of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) are explored by isotopic substitution ((13)C, (15)N, and non-exchangeable (2)H) of the wild-type ecDHFR (l-DHFR) to generate a vibrationally perturbed "heavy ecDHFR" (h-DHFR). Steady-state, pre-steady-state, and ligand binding kinetics, intrinsic kinetic isotope effects (KIEint) on the chemical step, and thermal unfolding experiments of both l- and h-DHFR show that the altered protein mass affects the conformational ensembles and protein-ligand interactions, but does not affect the hydride transfer at physiological temperatures (25-45 °C). Below 25 °C, h-DHFR shows altered transition state (TS) structure and increased barrier-crossing probability of the chemical step compared with l-DHFR, indicating temperature-dependent protein vibrational coupling to the chemical step. Protein mass-modulated vibrations in ecDHFR are involved in TS interactions at cold temperatures and are linked to dynamic motions involved in ligand binding at physiological temperatures. Thus, mass effects can affect enzymatic catalysis beyond alterations in promoting vibrations linked to chemistry.
Project description:The role of protein dynamics in the reaction catalyzed by dihydrofolate reductase from the hyperthermophile Thermotoga maritima (TmDHFR) has been examined by enzyme isotope substitution ((15)N, (13)C, (2)H). In contrast to all other enzyme reactions investigated previously, including DHFR from Escherichia coli (EcDHFR), for which isotopic substitution led to decreased reactivity, the rate constant for the hydride transfer step is not affected by isotopic substitution of TmDHFR. TmDHFR therefore appears to lack the coupling of protein motions to the reaction coordinate that have been identified for EcDHFR catalysis. Clearly, dynamical coupling is not a universal phenomenon that affects the efficiency of enzyme catalysis.
Project description:Protein isotope labeling is a powerful technique to probe functionally important motions in enzyme catalysis and can be applied to investigate the conformational dynamics of proteins. Previous investigations have indicated that dynamic coupling is detrimental to catalysis by dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) from the mesophile Escherichia coli (EcDHFR). Comparison of DHFRs from organisms adapted to survive at a wide range of temperatures suggests that dynamic coupling in DHFR catalysis has been minimized during evolution; it arises from reorganizational motions needed to facilitate charge transfer events. Contrary to the behaviour observed for the DHFR from the moderate thermophile Geobacillus stearothermophilus (BsDHFR), the chemical transformation catalyzed by the cold-adapted bacterium Moritella profunda (MpDHFR) is only weakly affected by protein isotope substitutions at low temperatures, but the isotopically substituted enzyme is a substantially inferior catalyst at higher, non-physiological temperatures. QM/MM studies revealed that this behaviour is caused by the enzyme's structural sensitivity to temperature changes, which enhances unfavorable dynamic coupling at higher temperatures by promoting additional recrossing trajectories on the transition state dividing surface. We postulate that these motions are minimized by fine-tuning DHFR flexibility through optimization of the free energy surface of the reaction, such that a nearly static reaction-ready configuration with optimal electrostatic properties is maintained under physiological conditions.
Project description:Previous studies of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) have demonstrated that residue G121, which is 19 A from the catalytic center, is involved in catalysis, and long distance dynamical motions were implied. Specifically, the ecDHFR mutant G121V has been extensively studied by various experimental and theoretical tools, and the mutation's effect on kinetic, structural, and dynamical features of the enzyme has been explored. This work examined the effect of this mutation on the physical nature of the catalyzed hydride transfer step by means of intrinsic kinetic isotope effects (KIEs), their temperature dependence, and activation parameters as described previously for wild type ecDHFR [Sikorski, R. S., et al. (2004) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 4778-4779]. The temperature dependence of initial velocities was used to estimate activation parameters. Isotope effects on the preexponential Arrhenius factors, and the activation energy, could be rationalized by an environmentally coupled hydrogen tunneling model, similar to the one used for the wild-type enzyme. Yet, in contrast to that in the wild type, fluctuations of the donor-acceptor distance were now required. Secondary (2 degrees ) KIEs were also measured for both H- and D-transfer, and as in the case of the wild-type enzyme, no coupled motion was detected. Despite these similarities, the reduced rates, the slightly inflated primary (1 degrees ) KIEs, and their temperature dependence, together with relatively deflated 2 degrees KIEs, indicate that the potential surface prearrangement was not as ideal as for the wild-type enzyme. These findings support theoretical studies suggesting that the G121V mutation led to a different conformational ensemble of reactive states and less effective rearrangement of the potential surface but has an only weak effect on H-tunneling.
Project description:CONSPECTUS: Enzymes are essential for all living organisms, and their effectiveness as chemical catalysts has driven more than a half century of research seeking to understand the enormous rate enhancements they provide. Nevertheless, a complete understanding of the factors that govern the rate enhancements and selectivities of enzymes remains elusive, due to the extraordinary complexity and cooperativity that are the hallmarks of these biomolecules. We have used a combination of site-directed mutagenesis, pre-steady-state kinetics, X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), vibrational and fluorescence spectroscopies, resonance energy transfer, and computer simulations to study the implications of conformational motions and electrostatic interactions on enzyme catalysis in the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). We have demonstrated that modest equilibrium conformational changes are functionally related to the hydride transfer reaction. Results obtained for mutant DHFRs illustrated that reductions in hydride transfer rates are correlated with altered conformational motions, and analysis of the evolutionary history of DHFR indicated that mutations appear to have occurred to preserve both the hydride transfer rate and the associated conformational changes. More recent results suggested that differences in local electrostatic environments contribute to finely tuning the substrate pKa in the initial protonation step. Using a combination of primary and solvent kinetic isotope effects, we demonstrated that the reaction mechanism is consistent across a broad pH range, and computer simulations suggested that deprotonation of the active site Tyr100 may play a crucial role in substrate protonation at high pH. Site-specific incorporation of vibrational thiocyanate probes into the ecDHFR active site provided an experimental tool for interrogating these microenvironments and for investigating changes in electrostatics along the DHFR catalytic cycle. Complementary molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with mixed quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical calculations accurately reproduced the vibrational frequency shifts in these probes and provided atomic-level insight into the residues influencing these changes. Our findings indicate that conformational and electrostatic changes are intimately related and functionally essential. This approach can be readily extended to the study of other enzyme systems to identify more general trends in the relationship between conformational fluctuations and electrostatic interactions. These results are relevant to researchers seeking to design novel enzymes as well as those seeking to develop therapeutic agents that function as enzyme inhibitors.
Project description:The role of protein motions in enzymatic CH?C transfer is an area of great contemporary debate. An effective tool in probing such a role is the temperature dependence of the intrinsic kinetic isotope effects for the enzyme-catalyzed reaction. The outcome of those experiments is interpreted within the context of phenomenological Marcus-like models of hydrogen tunneling. The current review focuses on recent studies of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and how the role of protein motions in the catalyzed reaction has been demonstrated. The motions in DHFR are controlled by local effects of active site residues, global effects involving remote residues across the enzyme and appear to be preserved during the evolution of the enzyme from bacteria to human.
Project description:A significant contemporary question in enzymology involves the role of protein dynamics and hydrogen tunneling in enhancing enzyme catalyzed reactions. Here, we report a correlation between the donor-acceptor distance (DAD) distribution and intrinsic kinetic isotope effects (KIEs) for the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) catalyzed reaction. This study compares the nature of the hydride-transfer step for a series of active-site mutants, where the size of a side chain that modulates the DAD (I14 in E. coli DHFR) is systematically reduced (I14V, I14A, and I14G). The contributions of the DAD and its dynamics to the hydride-transfer step were examined by the temperature dependence of intrinsic KIEs, hydride-transfer rates, activation parameters, and classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Results are interpreted within the framework of the Marcus-like model where the increase in the temperature dependence of KIEs arises as a direct consequence of the deviation of the DAD from its distribution in the wild type enzyme. Classical MD simulations suggest new populations with larger average DADs, as well as broader distributions, and a reduction in the population of the reactive conformers correlated with the decrease in the size of the hydrophobic residue. The more flexible active site in the mutants required more substantial thermally activated motions for effective H-tunneling, consistent with the hypothesis that the role of the hydrophobic side chain of I14 is to restrict the distribution and dynamics of the DAD and thus assist the hydride-transfer. These studies establish relationships between the distribution of DADs, the hydride-transfer rates, and the DAD's rearrangement toward tunneling-ready states. This structure-function correlation shall assist in the interpretation of the temperature dependence of KIEs caused by mutants far from the active site in this and other enzymes, and may apply generally to C-H?C transfer reactions.
Project description:Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is a well-studied drug target and a paradigm for understanding enzyme catalysis. Preparation of pure DHFR samples, in defined ligand-bound states, is a prerequisite for in vitro studies and drug discovery efforts. We use NMR spectroscopy to monitor ligand content of human and Escherichia coli DHFR (ecDHFR), which bind different co-purifying ligands during expression in bacteria. An alternate purification strategy yields highly pure DHFR complexes, containing only the desired ligands, in the quantities required for structural studies. Interestingly, ecDHFR is bound to endogenous THF while human DHFR is bound to NADP. Consistent with these findings, a designed "humanized" mutant of ecDHFR switches binding specificity in the cell.