W. Welsh, Yu Lin
Oct 1, 1997
Journal of Molecular Structure-theochem
Abstract The deacylation reaction of the cysteine protease papain was examined by AM1 reaction-coordinate calculations. The transition-state (TS) structure was extracted from the reaction pathway as corresponding to the maximum point along this minimum-energy pathway. Consistent with experimental kinetic data revealing that deacylation is about 60 times faster for thioester (C(O)S) than dithioester (C(S)S) intermediates, calculated Ea values are about 10 kcal mol−1 lower for the former than the latter. The calculated partial atomic charges indicate that the CO carbon in the thioester is a good site for nucleophilic attack whereas the corresponding CS carbon in the dithioester is a poor site. The present calculations reveal that the enzyme's oxyanion hole contributes about 9 kcal mol−1 toward reducing Ea for the anionic tetrahedral intermediate and TS structure. On the other hand, the presence of Asn in the putative Asn-His-Cys catalytic triad contributes only about l kcal mol−1 toward reducing their Ea value. The presence of this Asn, however, did appear to stabilize His in its protonated form (ImH+) over its unprotonated form (Im). Two novel mechanisms are introduced to explain the unusual effect of a remote X substituent on the deacylation kinetics of the substrate family under consideration. The first mechanism invokes a “field effect” while the second mechanism embodies the concepts of induction and homoconjugation. The unique feature of these two mechanisms is that, unlike other proposed models, they circumvent the requirement for a close N…S interaction which has stimulated controversy.