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    We report the results of calculations of the Gibbs energy profiles of the guanosine triphosphate (GTP) hydrolysis by the Arl3-RP2 protein complex using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with ab initio type QM/MM potentials. The chemical reaction of GTP hydrolysis to guanosine diphosphate (GDP) and inorganic phosphate (Pi) is catalyzed by GTPases, the enzymes, which are responsible for signal transduction in live cells. A small GTPase Arl3, catalyzing the GTP → GDP reaction in complex with the activating protein RP2, constitute an essential part of the human vision cycle. To simulate the reaction mechanism, a model system is constructed by motifs of the crystal structure of the Arl3-RP2 complexed with a substrate analog. After selection of reaction coordinates, energy profiles for elementary steps along the reaction pathway GTP + H2O → GDP + Pi are computed using the umbrella sampling and umbrella integration procedures. QM/MM MD calculations are carried out, interfacing the molecular dynamics program NAMD and the quantum chemistry program TeraChem. Ab initio type QM(DFT)/MM potentials are computed with atom-centered basis sets 6-31G** and two hybrid functionals (PBE0-D3 and ωB97x-D3) of the density functional theory, describing a large QM subsystem. Results of these simulations of the reaction mechanism are compared to those obtained with QM/MM calculations on the potential energy surface using a similar description of the QM part. We find that both approaches, QM/MM and QM/MM MD, support the mechanism of GTP hydrolysis by GTPases, according to which the catalytic glutamine side chain (Gln71, in this system) actively participates in the reaction. Both approaches distinguish two parts of the reaction: the cleavage of the phosphorus-oxygen bond in GTP coupled with the formation of Pi, and the enzyme regeneration. Newly performed QM/MM MD simulations confirmed the profile predicted in the QM/MM minimum energy calculations, called here the pathway-I, and corrected its relief at the first elementary step from the enzyme-substrate complex. The QM/MM MD simulations also revealed another mechanism at the part of enzyme regeneration leading to pathway-II. Pathway-II is more consistent with the experimental kinetic data of the wild-type complex Arl3-RP2, whereas pathway-I explains the role of the mutation Glu138Gly in RP2 slowing down the hydrolysis rate.


    Maria G Khrenova, Egor S Bulavko, Fedor D Mulashkin, Alexander V Nemukhin. Mechanism of Guanosine Triphosphate Hydrolysis by the Visual Proteins Arl3-RP2: Free Energy Reaction Profiles Computed with Ab Initio Type QM/MM Potentials. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2021 Jun 30;26(13)

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    PMID: 34208932

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