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Dynamics and dissipation in enzyme catalysis

National Academy of Sciences
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  • Biology


We use quantized molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the role of enzyme vibrations in facilitating dihydrofolate reductase hydride transfer. By sampling the full ensemble of reactive trajectories, we are able to quantify and distinguish between statistical and dynamical correlations in the enzyme motion. We demonstrate the existence of nonequilibrium dynamical coupling between protein residues and the hydride tunneling reaction, and we characterize the spatial and temporal extent of these dynamical effects. Unlike statistical correlations, which give rise to nanometer-scale coupling between distal protein residues and the intrinsic reaction, dynamical correlations vanish at distances beyond 4–6 Å from the transferring hydride. This work finds a minimal role for nonlocal vibrational dynamics in enzyme catalysis, and it supports a model in which nanometer-scale protein fluctuations statistically modulate—or gate—the barrier for the intrinsic reaction.

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