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An N⋯H⋯N low-barrier hydrogen bond preorganizes the catalytic site of aspartate aminotransferase to facilitate the second...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Chemical Science
Publication Date
Page Numbers
10057 to 10065

Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes have been extensively studied for their ability to fine-tune PLP cofactor electronics to promote a wide array of chemistries. Neutron crystallography offers a straightforward approach to studying the electronic states of PLP and the electrostatics of enzyme active sites, responsible for the reaction specificities, by enabling direct visualization of hydrogen atom positions. Here we report a room-temperature joint X-ray/neutron structure of aspartate aminotransferase (AAT) with pyridoxamine 5′-phosphate (PMP), the cofactor product of the first half reaction catalyzed by the enzyme. Between PMP NSB and catalytic Lys258 Nζ amino groups an equally shared deuterium is observed in an apparent low-barrier hydrogen bond (LBHB). Density functional theory calculations were performed to provide further evidence of this LBHB interaction. The structural arrangement and the juxtaposition of PMP and Lys258, facilitated by the LBHB, suggests active site preorganization for the incoming ketoacid substrate that initiates the second half-reaction.