A comparative study of claisen and cope rearrangements catalyzed by chorismate mutase. An insight into enzymatic efficiency: transition state stabilization or substrate preorganization?

Research paper by Sergio S Martí, Juan J Andrés, Vicente V Moliner, Estanislao E Silla, Iñaki I Tuñón, Juan J Bertrán

Indexed on: 08 Jan '04Published on: 08 Jan '04Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society


In this work we present a detailed analysis of the activation free energies and averaged interactions for the Claisen and Cope rearrangements of chorismate and carbachorismate catalyzed by Bacillus subtilischorismate mutase (BsCM) using quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulation methods. In gas phase, both reactions are described as concerted processes, with the activation free energy for carbachorismate being about 10-15 kcal mol(-)(1) larger than for chorismate, at the AM1 and B3LYP/6-31G levels. Aqueous solution and BsCM active site environments reduce the free energy barriers for both reactions, due to the fact that in these media the two carboxylate groups can be approached more easily than in the gas phase. The enzyme specifically reduces the activation free energy of the Claisen rearrangement about 3 kcal mol(-)(1) more than that for the Cope reaction. This result is due to a larger transition state stabilization associated to the formation of a hydrogen bond between Arg90 and the ether oxygen. When this oxygen atom is changed by a methylene group, the interaction is lost and Arg90 moves inside the active site establishing stronger interactions with one of the carboxylate groups. This fact yields a more intense rearrangement of the substrate structure. Comparing two reactions in the same enzyme, we have been able to obtain conclusions about the relative magnitude of the substrate preorganization and transition state stabilization effects. Transition state stabilization seems to be the dominant effect in this case.