- Enzymes that cleave ATP to activate carboxylic acids play essential roles in primary and secondary metabolism in all domains of life. Class I adenylate-forming enzymes share a conserved structural fold but act on a wide range of substrates to catalyze reactions involved in bioluminescence, nonribosomal peptide biosynthesis, fatty acid activation, and β-lactone formation. Despite their metabolic importance, the substrates and functions of the vast majority of adenylate-forming enzymes are unknown without tools available to accurately predict them.
- The catalytic residues of an enzyme comprise the amino acids located in the active center responsible for accelerating the enzyme-catalyzed reaction. These residues lower the activation energy of reactions by performing several catalytic functions. Decades of enzymology research has established general themes regarding the roles of specific residues in these catalytic reactions, but it has been more difficult to explore these roles in a more systematic way. Here, we review the data on the catalytic residues of 648 enzymes, as annotated in the Mechanism and Catalytic Site Atlas (M-CSA), and compare our results with those in previous studies.
- Haloalkane dehalogenases catalyze the hydrolysis of halogen–carbon bonds in organic halogenated compounds and as such are of great utility as biocatalysts. The crystal structures of the haloalkane dehalogenase DhlA from the bacterium from Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10, specifically adapted for the conversion of the small 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE) molecule, display the smallest catalytic site (110 Å3) within this enzyme family. However, during a substrate-specificity screening, we noted that DhlA can catalyze the conversion of far bulkier substrates, such as the 4-(bromomethyl)-6,7-dimethoxy-coumarin (220 Å3).
- A key question concerning the catalytic cycle of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) is whether the Met20 loop is dynamically coupled to the chemical step during catalysis. A more basic, yet unanswered question is whether the Met20 loop adopts a closed conformation during the chemical hydride transfer step. To examine the most likely conformation of the Met20 loop during the chemical step, we studied the hydride transfer in wild type (WT) ecDHFR using hybrid quantum mechanics-molecular mechanics free energy simulations with the Met20 loop in a closed and disordered conformation.
- Prenyltransferases of the dimethylallyltryptophan synthase (DMATS) superfamily catalyze the attachment of prenyl or prenyl-like moieties to diverse acceptor compounds. These acceptor molecules are generally aromatic in nature and mostly indole or indole-like. Their catalytic transformation represents a major skeletal diversification step in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, including the indole alkaloids. DMATS enzymes thus contribute significantly to the biological and pharmacological diversity of small molecule metabolites.
- Sumoylation is a multistep, multienzymatic post-translational modification in which a small ubiquitin-like modifier protein (SUMO) is attached to the target. We present the first mathematical model for sumoylation including enzyme mechanism details such as autosumoylation of E2 and multifunctional nature of SENP. Simulations and analysis reveal three nonobvious properties for the long term response, modeled as an open system: (i) the steady state sumoylation level is robust to variation in several enzyme properties; (ii) even when autosumoylation of E2 results in equal or higher activity, the target sumoylation levels are lower; and (iii) there is an optimal SENP concentration at which steady state target sumoylation level is maximum.