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The mechanism of the diphtheria toxin-catalyzed hydrolysis of NAD(+) was investigated by quantum chemical calculations and molecular dynamics simulations. Several effects that could explain the 6000-fold rate acceleration (Delta Delta G(++) approximately 5 kcal/mol) by the enzyme were considered. First, the carboxamide arm of the enzyme-bound NAD(+) adopts a trans conformation while the most stable conformation is cis. The most stable conformation for the nicotinamide product has the amide carbonyl trans. The activation energy for the cleavage of the ribosidic bond is reduced by 2 kcal/mol due to the relaxation of this ground state conformational stress in the transition state. Second, molecular dynamics simulations to the nanosecond time range revealed that the carboxylate of Glu148 forms a hydrogen bond to the substrate's 2' hydroxyl group in E.S (approximately 17% of the time) and E.TS (approximately 57% of the time) complexes. This interaction is not seen in crystal structures. The ApUp inhibitor is held more tightly by the enzyme than the transition state and the substrate. Analysis of correlated motions reveals differences in the pattern of anticorrelated motions for protein backbone atoms when the transition state occupies the active site as compared to the E.NAD(+) complex.


K Kahn, T C Bruice. Diphtheria toxin catalyzed hydrolysis of NAD(+): molecular dynamics study of enzyme-bound substrate, transition state, and inhibitor. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2001 Dec 5;123(48):11960-9

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PMID: 11724604

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