International journal of molecular sciences

Tuning the Phosphoryl Donor Specificity of Dihydroxyacetone Kinase from ATP to Inorganic Polyphosphate. An Insight from Computational Studies.

PMID 26610480


Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) kinase from Citrobacter freundii provides an easy entry for the preparation of DHA phosphate; a very important C3 building block in nature. To modify the phosphoryl donor specificity of this enzyme from ATP to inorganic polyphosphate (poly-P); a directed evolution program has been initiated. In the first cycle of evolution, the native enzyme was subjected to one round of error-prone PCR (EP-PCR) followed directly (without selection) by a round of DNA shuffling. Although the wild-type DHAK did not show activity with poly-P, after screening, sixteen mutant clones showed an activity with poly-phosphate as phosphoryl donor statistically significant. The most active mutant presented a single mutation (Glu526Lys) located in a flexible loop near of the active center. Interestingly, our theoretical studies, based on molecular dynamics simulations and hybrid Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics (QM/MM) optimizations, suggest that this mutation has an effect on the binding of the poly-P favoring a more adequate position in the active center for the reaction to take place.