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  • 1.
    Moa, Sara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Organic Chemistry.
    Quantum chemical modelling of enantioselectivity in alcohol dehydrogenase2017Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Biocatalytic methods of synthesis are becoming increasingly important in industry. Using enzymes as catalysts allows highly selective reactions to be performed under milder physical conditions and in a more environmentally benign fashion than most corresponding chemical catalysts.

    Enzymes have in general evolved to perform one type of reaction on a limited set of molecules, and hence there is often a need to alter the specificity of an enzyme to suit a desired process. Understanding the details of enzymatic catalysis at a quantum mechanical level enables the intelligent redesign of these macromolecules. For this purpose, density functional theory (DFT) has been shown to epitomise a suitable balance of accuracy and computational cost. Thus, this thesis describes the quantum chemical rationalisation of the reaction mechanism and sources of selectivity of the bacterial alcohol dehydrogenase TbSADH – an enzyme highly suited to modification for industrial processes.

    ADHs catalyse reversibly the interconversion of alcohols and ketones or aldehydes. Herein, the general ADH reaction mechanism was shown to be viable for this enzyme. In addition, the experimental enantiopreference of the enzyme was reproduced, and thus the reversal of selectivity seen with the slight increase in substrate size was captured. The main determinant of selectivity was found to be a fine balance of repulsive steric interactions and attractive dispersion effects between the substrate and the hydrophobic binding pockets. The ability of the modelling methodology to capture effects such as these represents further evidence of its usefulness as a complement to experimental work in designing the biocatalysts of the future.

    The development of protocols to allow quantum mechanical investigation of the production of large and industrially interesting axially chiral alcohols is also presented. The work described has showed that quantum chemical models of many hundreds of atoms are now within our grasp, and although they were unable to correctly describe the selectivity for the large 4-(bromomethylene)cyclohexan-1-one in TbSADH, the protocols devised can be very useful for future investigations of enzymatic catalysis.

  • 2.
    Moa, Sara
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Organic Chemistry.
    Himo, Fahmi
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Organic Chemistry.
    Quantum chemical study of mechanism and stereoselectivity of secondary alcohol dehydrogenase2017In: Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, ISSN 0162-0134, E-ISSN 1873-3344, Vol. 175, p. 259-266Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Secondary alcohol dehydrogenase from Thermoanaerobacter brockii (TbSADH) is a Zn- and NADP-dependent enzyme that catalyses the reversible transformation of secondary alcohols into ketones. It is of potential biocatalytic interest as it can be used in the synthesis of chiral alcohols by asymmetric reduction of ketones. In this paper, density functional theory calculations are employed to elucidate the origins of the enantioselectivity of TbSADH using a large model of the active site and considering two different substrates, 2-butanol and 3-hexanol. For these two substrates the enzyme has experimentally been shown to have the opposite enantioselectivity. The energy profiles for the reactions are calculated and the stationary points along the reaction path are characterised. The calculations first confirm that the general mechanism proposed for other alcohol dehydrogenases is energetically viable. In this mechanism, a proton is first transferred from the substrate to a histidine residue at the surface, followed by a hydride transfer to the NADP cofactor. The calculated overall energy barrier is consistent with the measured rate constant. Very importantly, the calculations are able to reproduce and rationalise the enantioselectivity of the enzyme for both substrates. The detailed characterisation of the energies and geometries of the involved transition states will be valuable in the rational engineering of TbSADH to expand its utility in biocatalysis.

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