Electrostatics, allostery, and activity of the yeast chorismate mutase

Shuo Liang Lin, Dong Xu, Aijun Li, Ruth Nussinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The predicted active site of chorismate mutase of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been studied by continuum electrostatics, molecular surface/volume calculations, and molecular modeling. Our study shows that despite being subject to an allosteric transition, the enzyme's active-site pocket neither decreased in volume nor deformed significantly in shape between the active R state and the inactive T state. We find that the polar atmosphere in the pocket is responsible for the enzyme's affinity. A single amino acid, Glu23, can adequately account for the atmospheric variation. This residue swings into the active-site pocket from the R state to the T state. In the R state, Glu23 on helix H2 doubly pairs with Arg204 and Lys208 of H11, which is packed against H2. In the T state, a slide occurs between H11 and H2 such that Glu23 can no longer interact with Lys208 and competes with Asp24 for interacting with Arg204. Consequently, Glu23 is found in the T state to couple with Arg157, an active-site residue critical to substrate binding. The tandem sliding of H11 in both monomers profoundly changes the interactions in the dimer interface. The loop between H11 and H12 demonstrates the largest conformational change. Hence, we establish a connection between the allosteric transition and the activity of the enzyme. The conformational change in the transition is suggested to propagate into the active-site pocket via a series of polar interactions that result in polarity reversal in the active-site pocket, which regulates the enzyme's activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1998


  • Activity
  • Allosteric
  • Chorismate mutase
  • Electrostatics


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