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Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society

Molecular dynamics simulation of the interaction between the complex iron-sulfur flavoprotein glutamate synthase and its substrates.


PMID 15498940

Abstract

Glutamate synthase (GltS) is a complex iron-sulfur flavoprotein that catalyzes the reductive transfer of L-glutamine amide group to the C2 carbon of 2-oxoglutarate yielding two molecules of L-glutamate. Molecular dynamics calculations in explicit solvent were carried out to gain insight into the conformational flexibility of GltS and into the role played by the enzyme substrates in regulating the catalytic cycle. We have modelled the free (unliganded) form of Azospirillum brasilense GltS alpha subunit and the structure of the reduced enzyme in complex with the L-glutamine and 2-oxoglutarate substrates starting from the crystallographically determined coordinates of the GltS alpha subunit in complex with L-methionine sulphone and 2-oxoglutarate. The present 4-ns molecular dynamics calculations reveal that the GltS glutaminase site may exist in a catalytically inactive conformation unable to bind glutamine, and in a catalytically competent conformation, which is stabilized by the glutamine substrate. Substrates binding also induce (1) closure of the loop formed by residues 263-271 with partial shielding of the glutaminase site from solvent, and (2) widening of the ammonia tunnel entrance at the glutaminase end to allow for ammonia diffusion toward the synthase site. The Q-loop of glutamate synthase, which acts as an active site lid in other amidotransferases, seems to maintain an open conformation. Finally, binding of L-methionine sulfone, a glutamine analog that mimics the tetrahedral transient species occurring during its hydrolysis, causes a coordinated rigid-body motion of segments of the glutaminase domain that results in the inactive conformation observed in the crystal structure of GltS alpha subunit.

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