After many decades of investigation, the manner in which enzymes increase the rate of chemical reactions, at times by a factor of 1017 compared to the rate of the corresponding solution phase reaction, is still opaque. A topic of significant discussion in the literature of the past 5-10 years has been the importance of protein dynamics in this process. This Feature Article will discuss the authors' work on this still controversial topic with focus on both methodology and application to real systems. The end conclusion of this work has been that for specific enzymes under study protein dynamics on both rapid time scales of barrier crossing (termed promoting vibrations by the authors) and of conformational fluctuations are central to the function of biological catalysts. In another enzyme we will discuss, the results are far less clear. The manner of the coupling of chemistry to protein dynamics has deep implications for protein architecture, both natural and created, and recent results reinforce the complexity of the protein form that has evolved to support these functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry