Can the local electric field be a descriptor of catalytic activity? A case study on chorismate mutase†
The current theoretical perception of enzymatic activity is highly reliant on the determination of the activation energy of the reactions, which is often calculated using computationally demanding quantum mechanical calculations. With the ever-increasing use of bioengineering techniques that produce too many variants of the same enzyme, a fast and accurate way to study the relative efficiency of enzymes is currently in high demand. Here, we propose the local electric field (LEF) of the enzyme along the reaction axis as a descriptor for the enzymatic activity using the example of chorismate mutase in its native form and several variants (R90A, R90G, and R90K/C88S). The study shows a direct correlation between the calculated enzymatic EF and the enzymatic activity for all the complexes. MD simulations of the Michaelis complex and the transition state analog (TSA) show a stabilizing force on the TSA due to the enzymatic EF. QM/MM and QM-only DFT calculations in the presence of an external electric field (EEF) oriented along the reaction axis show that the electric field can interact with the dipole moment of the TS, thereby stabilizing it and thus lowering the activation energy.
- This article is part of the themed collection: New Perspectives on Molecular Simulation of Chemistry and Physics in External Electric Fields