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On the role of protons in the reactivation of acetylcholinesterase : quantum and molecular mechanics studies

  • Driant, Thomas
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2017
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The project of this PhD was to investigate the reactivation process and the active site of nerve agent inhibited AChE by computational methodologies to gain insight about the rational design of new reactivators. An initial truncated QM model study provided some insight in the necessary compensation of Glu334 by the enzyme. It also confirmed the role of the oxyanionic hole in the stabilization of the transition state of the reactivation. QM/MM simulations of the reactivation with classical reactivator 2-PAM, as well as two non-pyridinium reactivators, were performed. It was shown that Glu202, a residue near the catalytic triad of AChE, needs to be protonated for the reactivation to occur. Those simulations also showed that the reactivator can be deprotonated in the active site of AChE by His447. Non-pyridinium reactivator were found to have a greater nucleophilicity than 2-PAM and, for one of them, to be easily deprotonated in the active site. Our results indicate that the capacity of a reactivator to be deprotonated in the active site of the enzyme is more important than its nucleophilicity. Finally, a proton relay mechanism was identified through QM/MM and EVB simulations. It involves two glutamate residues, Glu450 and Glu452, positioned behind the active site. The potential for these two residues to be transiently protonated and thus involved in a proton relay was confirmed by CpHMD simulations. This proton relay mechanism relies on the N-protonation of an amide which is a novel mechanism.

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