Molecular dynamics study of helicobacter pylori urease

Mona S. Minkara, Melek N. Ucisik, Michael N. Weaver, Kenneth M. Merz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Helicobacter pylori have been implicated in an array of gastrointestinal disorders including, but not limited to, gastric and duodenal ulcers and adenocarcinoma. This bacterium utilizes an enzyme, urease, to produce copious amounts of ammonia through urea hydrolysis in order to survive the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach. Molecular dynamics (MD) studies on the H. pylori urease enzyme have been employed in order to study structural features of this enzyme that may shed light on the hydrolysis mechanism. A total of 400 ns of MD simulation time were collected and analyzed in this study. A wide-open flap state previously observed in MD simulations on Klebsiella aerogenes [Roberts et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 9934] urease has been identified in the H. pylori enzyme that has yet to be experimentally observed. Critical distances between residues on the flap, contact points in the closed state, and the separation between the active site Ni2+ ions and the critical histidine α322 residue were used to characterize flap motion. An additional flap in the active site was elaborated upon that we postulate may serve as an exit conduit for hydrolysis products. Finally we discuss the internal hollow cavity and present analysis of the distribution of sodium ions over the course of the simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1862
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 13 2014
Externally publishedYes


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