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Keywords:

  • Molecular dynamics;
  • enantioselectivity;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • transition state;
  • free energy

Abstract

A major problem in predicting the enantioselectivity of an enzyme toward substrate molecules is that even high selectivity toward one substrate enantiomer over the other corresponds to a very small difference in free energy. However, total free energies in enzyme-substrate systems are very large and fluctuate significantly because of general protein motion. Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB), a serine hydrolase, displays enantioselectivity toward secondary alcohols. Here, we present a modeling study where the aim has been to develop a molecular dynamics-based methodology for the prediction of enantioselectivity in CALB. The substrates modeled (seven in total) were 3-methyl-2-butanol with various aliphatic carboxylic acids and also 2-butanol, as well as 3,3-dimethyl-2-butanol with octanoic acid. The tetrahedral reaction intermediate was used as a model of the transition state. Investigative analyses were performed on ensembles of nonminimized structures and focused on the potential energies of a number of subsets within the modeled systems to determine which specific regions are important for the prediction of enantioselectivity. One category of subset was based on atoms that make up the core structural elements of the transition state. We considered that a more favorable energetic conformation of such a subset should relate to a greater likelihood for catalysis to occur, thus reflecting higher selectivity. The results of this study conveyed that the use of this type of subset was viable for the analysis of structural ensembles and yielded good predictions of enantioselectivity.