Fundamental reaction mechanism and free energy profile for (-)-cocaine hydrolysis catalyzed by cocaine esterase

Junjun Liu, Adel Hamza, Chang Guo Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fundamental reaction mechanism of cocaine esterase (CocE)-catalyzed hydrolysis of (-)-cocaine and the corresponding free energy profile have been studied by performing pseudobond firstprinciples quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical free energy (QM/MM-FE) calculations. On the basis of the QM/MM-FE results, the entire hydrolysis reaction consists of four reaction steps, including the nucleophilic attack on the carbonyl carbon of (-)-cocaine benzoyl ester by the hydroxyl group of Ser117, dissociation of (-)-cocaine benzoyl ester, nucleophilic attack on the carbonyl carbon of (-)-cocaine benzoyl ester by water, and finally dissociation between the (-)-cocaine benzoyl group and Ser117 of CocE. The third reaction step involving the nucleophilic attack of a water molecule was found to be rate-determining, which is remarkably different from (-)-cocaine hydrolysis catalyzed by wild-type butyrylcholinesterase (BChE; where the formation of the prereactive BChE-(-)-cocaine complex is rate-determining) or its mutants containing Tyr332Gly or Tyr332Ala mutation (where the first chemical reaction step is rate-determining). Besides, the role of Asp259 in the catalytic triad of CocE does not follow the general concept of the "chargerelay system" for all serine esterases. The free energy barrier calculated for the rate-determining step of CocE-catalyzed hydrolysis of (-)-cocaine is 17.9 kcal/mol, which is in good agreement with the experimentally derived activation free energy of 16.2 kcal/mol. In the present study, where many sodium ions are present, the effects of counterions are found to be significant in determining the free energy barrier. The finding of the significant effects of counterions on the free energy barrier may also be valuable in guiding future mechanistic studies on other charged enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11964-11975
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume131
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 26 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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