A unique feature of chemical catalysis mediated by enzymes is that the catalytically reactive atoms are embedded within a folded protein. Although current understanding of enzyme function has been focused on the chemical reactions and static three-dimensional structures, the dynamic nature of proteins has been proposed to have a function in catalysis1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The concept of conformational substates has been described6; however, the challenge is to unravel the intimate linkage between protein flexibility and enzymatic function. Here we show that the intrinsic plasticity of the protein is a key characteristic of catalysis. The dynamics of the prolyl cis–trans isomerase cyclophilin A (CypA) in its substrate-free state and during catalysis were characterized with NMR relaxation experiments. The characteristic enzyme motions detected during catalysis are already present in the free enzyme with frequencies corresponding to the catalytic turnover rates. This correlation suggests that the protein motions necessary for catalysis are an intrinsic property of the enzyme and may even limit the overall turnover rate. Motion is localized not only to the active site but also to a wider dynamic network. Whereas coupled networks in proteins have been proposed previously3, 7, 8, 9, 10, we experimentally measured the collective nature of motions with the use of mutant forms of CypA. We propose that the pre-existence of collective dynamics in enzymes before catalysis is a common feature of biocatalysts and that proteins have evolved under synergistic pressure between structure and dynamics.
2005. Vol. 438, 117-21 p.