Published by Portland Press on behalf of the Biochemical Society
Biochemical Journal vol:394 pages:259-265
The enzyme DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) catalyses hydride transfer from NADPH to, and protonation of, dihydrofolate. The physical basis of the hydride transfer step catalysed by DHFR from Escherichia coli has been Studied through the measurement of the temperature dependence of the reaction rates and the kinetic isotope effects. Single turnover experiments at pH 7.0 revealed a strong dependence of the reaction rates oil temperature. The observed relatively large difference in the activation energies for hydrogen and deuterium transfer led to a temperature dependence of the primary kinetic isotope effects from 3.0 +/- 0.2 at 5 degrees C to 2.2 +/- 0.2 at 40 degrees C and an inverse ratio of the pre-exponential factors of 0.108 +/- 0.04. These results are consistent with theoretical models for hydrogen transfer that include contributions from quantum mechanical tunnelling Coupled with protein motions that actively modulate the tunnelling distance. Previous work had suggested a coupling of a remote residue, Gly(121), with the kinetic events at the active site. However, pre-steady-state experiments at pH 7.0 with the mutant G121 V-DHFR, in which Gly(121) was replaced with valine, revealed that the chemical mechanism of DHFR catalysis was robust to this replacement. The reduced catalytic efficiency of G 121 V-DHFR was mainly a consequence of the significantly reduced pre-exponential factors, indicating the requirement for significant molecular reorganization during G121 V-DHFR catalysis. In contrast,steady-state measurements at pH 9.5, where hydride transfer is rate limiting, revealed temperature-independent kinetic isotope effects between 15 and 35 degrees C and a ratio of the pre-exponential factors above the semi-classical limit, Suggesting a rigid active site configuration from which hydrogen tunnelling occurs. The mechanism by which hydrogen tunnelling, in DHFR is Coupled with the environment appears therefore to be sensitive to pH.