Loss of Hyperconjugative Effects Drives Hydride Transfer during Dihydrofolate Reductase Catalysis.
ABSTRACT: Hydride transfer is widespread in nature and has an essential role in applied research. However, the mechanisms of how this transformation occurs in living organisms remain a matter of vigorous debate. Here, we examined dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), an enzyme that catalyzes hydride from C4? of NADPH to C6 of 7,8-dihydrofolate (H2F). Despite many investigations of the mechanism of this reaction, the contribution of polarization of the ?-bond of H2F in driving hydride transfer remains unclear. H2F was stereospecifically labeled with deuterium ? to the reacting center, and ?-deuterium kinetic isotope effects were measured. Our experimental results combined with analysis derived from QM/MM simulations reveal that hydride transfer is triggered by polarization at the C6 of H2F. The ? C?–H bonds contribute to the buildup of the cationic character during the chemical transformation, and hyperconjugation influences the formation of the transition state. Our findings provide key insights into the hydride transfer mechanism of the DHFR-catalyzed reaction, which is a target for antiproliferative drugs and a paradigmatic model in mechanistic enzymology.
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 enzyme DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) catalyses hydride transfer from NADPH to, and protonation of, dihydrofolate. The physical basis of the hydride transfer step catalysed by DHFR from Escherichia coli has been studied through the measurement of the temperature dependence of the reaction rates and the kinetic isotope effects. Single turnover experiments at pH 7.0 revealed a strong dependence of the reaction rates on temperature. The observed relatively large difference in the activation energies for hydrogen and deuterium transfer led to a temperature dependence of the primary kinetic isotope effects from 3.0+/-0.2 at 5 degrees C to 2.2+/-0.2 at 40 degrees C and an inverse ratio of the pre-exponential factors of 0.108+/-0.04. These results are consistent with theoretical models for hydrogen transfer that include contributions from quantum mechanical tunnelling coupled with protein motions that actively modulate the tunnelling distance. Previous work had suggested a coupling of a remote residue,Gly121, with the kinetic events at the active site. However, pre-steady-state experiments at pH 7.0 with the mutant G121V-DHFR, in which Gly121 was replaced with valine, revealed that the chemical mechanism of DHFR catalysis was robust to this replacement. The reduced catalytic efficiency of G121V-DHFR was mainly a consequence of the significantly reduced pre-exponential factors, indicating the requirement for significant molecular reorganization during G121V-DHFR catalysis. In contrast, steady-state measurements at pH 9.5, where hydride transfer is rate limiting, revealed temperature-independent kinetic isotope effects between 15 and 35 degrees C and a ratio of the pre-exponential factors above the semi-classical limit, suggesting a rigid active site configuration from which hydrogen tunnelling occurs. The mechanism by which hydrogen tunnelling in DHFR is coupled with the environment appears therefore to be sensitive to pH.
Project description:Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) catalyzes the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-dependent reduction of 7,8-dihydrofolate (H2F) to 5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate (H4F). Because of the absence of any ionizable group in the vicinity of N5 of dihydrofolate it has been proposed that N5 could be protonated directly by a water molecule at the active site in the ternary complex of the Escherichia coli enzyme with cofactor and substrate. However, in the X-ray structures representing the Michaelis complex of the E. coli enzyme, a water molecule has never been observed in a position that could allow protonation of N5. In fact, the side chain of Met 20 blocks access to N5. Energy minimization reported here revealed that water could be placed in hydrogen bonding distance of N5 with only minor conformational changes. The r.m.s. deviation between the conformation of the M20 loop observed in the crystal structures of the ternary complexes and the conformation adopted after energy minimization was only 0.79 A. We performed molecular dynamics simulations to determine the accessibility by water of the active site of the Michaelis complex of DHFR. Water could access N5 relatively freely after an equilibration time of approximately 300 psec during which the side chain of Met 20 blocked water access. Protonation of N5 did not increase the accessibility by water. Surprisingly the number of near-attack conformations, in which the distance between the pro-R hydrogen of NADPH and C6 of dihydrofolate was less than 3.5 A and the angle between C4 and the pro-R hydrogen of NADPH and C6 of dihydrofolate was greater than 120 degrees, did not increase after protonation. However, when the hydride was transferred from NADPH to C6 of dihydrofolate before protonation, the side chain of Met 20 moved away from N5 after approximately 100 psec thereby providing water access. The average time during which water was found in hydrogen bonding distance to N5 was significantly increased. These results suggest that hydride transfer might occur early to midway through the reaction followed by protonation. Such a mechanism is supported by the very close contact between C4 of NADP+ and C6 of folate observed in the crystal structures of the ternary enzyme complexes, when the M20 loop is in its closed conformation.
Project description:The technique of hydrogen-deuterium exchange coupled to mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) has been applied to a mesophilic (E. coli) dihydrofolate reductase under conditions that allow direct comparison to a thermophilic (B. stearothermophilus) ortholog, Ec-DHFR and Bs-DHFR, respectively. The analysis of hydrogen-deuterium exchange patterns within proteolytically derived peptides allows spatial resolution, while requiring a series of controls to compare orthologous proteins with only ca. 40% sequence identity. These controls include the determination of primary structure effects on intrinsic rate constants for HDX as well as the use of existing 3-dimensional structures to evaluate the distance of each backbone amide hydrogen to the protein surface. Only a single peptide from the Ec-DHFR is found to be substantially more flexible than the Bs-DHFR at 25 °C in a region located within the protein interior at the intersection of the cofactor and substrate-binding sites. The surrounding regions of the enzyme are either unchanged or more flexible in the thermophilic DHFR from B. stearothermophilus. The region with increased flexibility in Ec-DHFR corresponds to one of two regions previously proposed to control the enthalpic barrier for hydride transfer in Bs-DHFR [Oyeyemi et al. (2010) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107, 10074].
Project description:DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) catalyses the metabolically important reduction of 7,8-dihydrofolate by NADPH. DHFR from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima (TmDHFR), which shares similarity with DHFR from Escherichia coli, has previously been characterized structurally. Its tertiary structure is similar to that of DHFR from E. coli but it is the only DHFR characterized so far that relies on dimerization for stability. The midpoint of the thermal unfolding of TmDHFR was at approx. 83 degrees C, which was 30 degrees C higher than the melting temperature of DHFR from E. coli. The turnover and the hydride-transfer rates in the kinetic scheme of TmDHFR were derived from measurements of the steady-state and pre-steady-state kinetics using absorbance and stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy. The rate constant for hydride transfer was found to depend strongly on the temperature and the pH of the solution. Hydride transfer was slow (0.14 s(-1) at 25 degrees C) and at least partially rate limiting at low temperatures but increased dramatically with temperature. At 80 degrees C the hydride-transfer rate of TmDHFR was 20 times lower than that observed for the E. coli enzyme at its physiological temperature. Hydride transfer depended on ionization of a single group in the active site with a p K(a) of 6.0. While at 30 degrees C, turnover of substrate by TmDHFR was almost two orders of magnitude slower than by DHFR from E. coli; the steady-state rates of the two enzymes differed only 8-fold at their respective working temperatures.
Project description:This paper reviews the results from hybrid quantum/classical molecular dynamics simulations of the hydride transfer reaction catalysed by wild-type (WT) and mutant Escherichia coli and WT Bacillus subtilis dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Nuclear quantum effects such as zero point energy and hydrogen tunnelling are significant in these reactions and substantially decrease the free energy barrier. The donor-acceptor distance decreases to ca 2.7 A at transition-state configurations to enable the hydride transfer. A network of coupled motions representing conformational changes along the collective reaction coordinate facilitates the hydride transfer reaction by decreasing the donor-acceptor distance and providing a favourable geometric and electrostatic environment. Recent single-molecule experiments confirm that at least some of these thermally averaged equilibrium conformational changes occur on the millisecond time-scale of the hydride transfer. Distal mutations can lead to non-local structural changes and significantly impact the probability of sampling configurations conducive to the hydride transfer, thereby altering the free-energy barrier and the rate of hydride transfer. E. coli and B. subtilis DHFR enzymes, which have similar tertiary structures and hydride transfer rates with 44% sequence identity, exhibit both similarities and differences in the equilibrium motions and conformational changes correlated to hydride transfer, suggesting a balance of conservation and flexibility across species.
Project description:Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of 7,8-dihydrofolate (FH2) to (6s)-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrofolate (FH4) via hydride transfer from NADPH. The consensus Escherichia coli DHFR mechanism involves conformational changes between closed and occluded states occurring during the rate-limiting product release step. Although the Protein Data Bank (PDB) contains over 250 DHFR structures, the FH4 complex structure responsible for rate-limiting product release is unknown. We report to our knowledge the first crystal structure of an E. coli. DHFR:FH4 complex at 1.03?Å resolution showing distinct stabilizing interactions absent in FH2 or related (6R)-5,10-dideaza-FH4 complexes. We discover the time course of decay of the co-purified endogenous FH4 during crystal growth, with conversion from FH4 to FH2 occurring in 2-3 days. We also determine another occluded complex structure of E. coli DHFR with a slow-onset nanomolar inhibitor that contrasts with the methotrexate complex, suggesting a plausible strategy for designing DHFR antibiotics by targeting FH4 product conformations.
Project description:It has become increasingly clear that protein motions play an essential role in enzyme catalysis. However, exactly how these motions are related to an enzyme's chemical step is still intensely debated. This chapter examines the possible role of protein motions that display a hierarchy of timescales in enzyme catalysis. The linkage between protein motions and catalysis is investigated in the context of a model enzyme, E. coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), that catalyzes the hydride transfer reaction in the conversion of dihydrofolate to tetrahydrofolate. The results of extensive computer simulations probing the protein motions that are manifest during different steps along the turnover cycle of DHFR are summarized. Evidence is presented that the protein motions modulate the catalytic efficacy of DHFR by generating a conformational ensemble conducive to the hydride transfer. The alteration of the equilibrium conformational ensemble rather than any protein dynamical effects is found to be sufficient to explain the rate-diminishing effects of mutation on the kinetics of the enzyme. These data support the view that the protein motions facilitate catalysis by establishing reaction competent conformations of the enzyme, but they do not directly couple to the chemical reaction itself. These findings have broad implications for our understanding of enzyme mechanisms and the design of novel protein catalysts.
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 from Thermotoga maritima (TmDFHFR) is a dimeric thermophilic enzyme that catalyzes the hydride transfer from the cofactor NADPH to dihydrofolate less efficiently than other DHFR enzymes, such as the mesophilic analogue Escherichia coli DHFR (EcDHFR). Using QM/MM potentials we show that the reduced catalytic efficiency of TmDHFR is most likely due to differences in the amino acid sequence that stabilize the M20 loop in an open conformation, which prevents the formation of some interactions in the transition state and increases the number of water molecules in the active site. However, dimerization provides two advantages to the thermophilic enzyme; it protects its structure against denaturation by reducing thermal fluctuations and it provides a less negative activation entropy, toning down the increase of the activation free energy with temperature. Our molecular picture is confirmed by the analysis of the temperature dependence of enzyme kinetic isotope effects in different DHFR enzymes.