Protein Dynamics Control the Progression and Efficiency of the Catalytic Reaction Cycle of the Escherichia coli DNA-Repair Enzyme AlkB [Molecular Biophysics]

July 23rd, 2014 by Ergel, B., Gill, M. L., Brown, L., Yu, B., Palmer, A. G., Hunt, J. F.

A central goal of enzymology is to understand the physicochemical mechanisms that enable proteins to catalyze complex chemical reactions with high efficiency. Recent methodological advances enable the contribution of protein dynamics to enzyme efficiency to be explored more deeply. Here, we utilize enzymological and biophysical studies, including NMR measurements of conformational dynamics, to develop a quantitative mechanistic scheme for the DNA-repair enzyme AlkB. Like other iron/2-oxoglutarate dependent dioxygenases, AlkB employs a two-step mechanism in which oxidation of 2-oxoglutarate generates a highly reactive enzyme-bound oxyferryl intermediate that, in the case of AlkB, slowly hydroxylates an alkylated nucleobase. Our results demonstrate that a microsecond-to-millisecond timescale conformational transition facilitates the proper sequential order of substrate binding to AlkB. Mutations altering the dynamics of this transition allow generation of the oxyferryl intermediate, but promote its premature quenching by solvent, which uncouples 2-oxoglutarate turnover from nucleobase oxidation. Therefore, efficient catalysis by AlkB depends upon the dynamics of a specific conformational transition, establishing another paradigm for the control of enzyme function by protein dynamics.
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