Molecular dynamics simulations of biotin carboxylase

Sten O.Nilsson Lili, Jiali Gao, Grover L. Waldrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Biotin carboxylase catalyzes the ATP-dependent carboxylation of biotin and is one component of the multienzyme complex acetyl-CoA carboxylase that catalyzes the first committed step in fatty acid synthesis in all organisms. Biotin carboxylase from Escherichia coli, whose crystal structures with and without ATP bound have been determined, has served as a model system for this component of the acetyl-CoA carboxylase complex. The two crystal structures revealed a large conformational change of one domain relative to the other domains when ATP is bound. Unfortunately, the crystal structure with ATP bound was obtained with an inactive site-directed mutant of the enzyme. As a consequence the structure with ATP bound lacked key structural information such as for the Mg2+ ions and contained altered conformations of key active-site residues. Therefore, nanosecond molecular dynamics studies of the wild-type biotin carboxylase were undertaken to supplant and amend the results of the crystal structures. Specifically, the protein-metal interactions of the two catalytically critical Mg2+ ions bound in the active site are presented along with a reevaluation of the conformations of active-site residues bound to ATP. In addition, the regions of the polypeptide chain that serve as hinges for the large conformational change were identified. The results of the hinge analysis complemented a covariance analysis that identified the individual structural elements of biotin carboxylase that change their conformation in response to ATP binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3149-3156
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 13 2008


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