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Chemistry & biology

Conversion of squalene to the pentacarbocyclic hopene.


PMID 15113001

Abstract

The membrane protein squalene-hopene cyclase was cocrystallized with 2-azasqualene and analyzed by X-ray diffraction to 2.13 A resolution. The conformation of this close analog was clearly established, and it agreed with the common textbook presentation. The bound squalene undergoes only small conformational changes during the formation of rings A through D, thus requiring no intermediate. However, ring E formation is hindered by an entropic barrier, which may explain its absence in the steroids. The structure analysis revealed a mobile region between the active center cavity and the membrane, which may melt, opening a passage for squalene and hopene.

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