Hydride transfer in liver alcohol dehydrogenase: Quantum dynamics, kinetic isotope effects, and role of enzyme motion

S. R. Billeter, S. P. Webb, P. K. Agarwal, T. Iordanov, S. Hammes-Schiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The quantum dynamics of the hydride transfer reaction catalyzed by liver alcohol dehydrogenase (LADH) are studied with real-time dynamical simulations including the motion of the entire solvated enzyme. The electronic quantum effects are incorporated with an empirical valence bond potential, and the nuclear quantum effects of the transferring hydrogen are incorporated with a mixed quantum/classical molecular dynamics method in which the transferring hydrogen nucleus is represented by a three-dimensional vibrational wave function. The equilibrium transition state theory rate constants are determined from the adiabatic quantum free energy profiles, which include the free energy of the zero point motion for the transferring nucleus. The nonequilibrium dynamical effects are determined by calculating the transmission coefficients with a reactive flux scheme based on real-time molecular dynamics with quantum transitions (MDQT) surface hopping trajectories. The values of nearly unity for these transmission coefficients imply that nonequilibrium dynamical effects such as barrier recrossings are not dominant for this reaction. The calculated deuterium and tritium kinetic isotope effects for the overall rate agree with experimental results. These simulations elucidate the fundamental nature of the nuclear quantum effects and provide evidence of hydrogen tunneling in the direction along the donor-acceptor axis. An analysis of the geometrical parameters during the equilibrium and nonequilibrium simulations provides insight into the relation between specific enzyme motions and enzyme activity. The donor-acceptor distance, the catalytic zinc-substrate oxygen distance, and the coenzyme (NAD+/ NADH) ring angles are found to strongly impact the activation free energy barrier, while the donor-acceptor distance and one of the coenzyme ring angles are found to be correlated to the degree of barrier recrossing. The distance between VAL-203 and the reactive center is found to significantly impact the activation free energy but not the degree of barrier recrossing. This result indicates that the experimentally observed effect of mutating VAL-203 on the enzyme activity is due to the alteration of the equilibrium free energy difference between the transition state and the reactant rather than nonequilibrium dynamical factors. The promoting motion of VAL-203 is characterized in terms of steric interactions involving THR-178 and the coenzyme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11262-11272
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 14 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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