Electric Fields and Fast Protein Dynamics in Enzymes

Ioanna Zoi, Dimitri Antoniou, Steven D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been much discussion regarding the origin of enzymatic catalysis and whether including protein dynamics is necessary for understanding catalytic enhancement. An important contribution in this debate was made with the application of the vibrational Stark effect spectroscopy to measure electric fields in the active site. This provided a window on electric fields at the transition state in enzymatic reactions. We performed computational studies on two enzymes where we have shown that fast dynamics is part of the reaction mechanism and calculated the electric field near the bond-breaking event. We found that the fast motions that we had identified lead to an increase of the electric field, thus preparing an enzymatic configuration that is electrostatically favorable for the catalytic chemical step. We also studied the enzyme that has been the subject of Stark spectroscopy, ketosteroid isomerase, and found electric fields of a similar magnitude to the two previous examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6165-6170
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 21 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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