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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Diels-Alder ribozyme catalysis: a computational approach.

A computational comparison of the Diels-Alder reaction of a maleimide and an anthracene in water and the active site of the ribozyme Diels-Alderase is reported. During the course of the catalyzed reaction, the maleimide is held in the hydrophobic pocket while the anthracene approaches to the maleimide through the back passage of the active site. The active site is so narrow that the anthracene has to adopt a tilted approach angle toward maleimide. The conformation of the active site changes marginally at different states of the reaction. Active site dynamics contribution to catalysis has been ruled out. The active site stabilizes the product more than the transition state ( TS). The reaction coordinates of the ribozyme reaction in TS, RC1- CD1 and RC4-CD2, are 2.35 and 2.33 A, respectively, compared to 2.37 and 2.36 A in water. The approach angle of anthracene toward maleimide is twisted by 18 degrees in the TS structure of ribozyme reaction while no twisted angle is found in TS of the reaction in water. The free energy barriers for reactions in both ribozyme and water were obtained by umbrella sampling combined with SCCDFTB/MM. The calculated free energy barriers for the ribozyme and water reactions are in good agreement with the experimental values. As expected, Mulliken charges of the atoms involved in the ribozyme reaction change in a similar manner as that of the reaction in water. The proficiency of the Diels-Alder ribozyme reaction originates from the active site holding the two reactants in reactive conformations, in which the reacting atoms are brought together in van der Waals distances and reactants approach to each other at an appropriate angle.[1]


  1. Diels-Alder ribozyme catalysis: a computational approach. Zhang, X., Bruice, T.C. J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2007) [Pubmed]
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