The Influence of Ser-154, Cys-113, and the Phosphorylated Threonine Residue on the Catalytic Reaction Mechanism of Pin1

E. Vohringer-Martinez, T. Verstraelen, P.W. Ayers
Journal of Physical Chemistry B
118 (33), 9871-9880


Pin1 is an enzyme that specifically catalyzes the cis–trans isomerization of proline amide bonds in peptides that contain a phosphorylated threonine or serine residue in the position preceding proline. In the cell, the isomerization reaction is associated with cellular signaling and has been related to diseases such as Alzheimer and cancer. The catalytic mechanism by which Pin1 accelerates the isomerization reaction, however, is still unknown. In this study, we use molecular dynamics simulation in combination with the QM/MM methodology to disclose the influence of the residues Ser-154 and Cys-113 in the enzyme and the phosphorylated threonine residue in the peptide on the reaction mechanism. To account for the correct electrostatic interaction between the three residues and the reactive center, we derive atomic charges that account for the varying electrostatic field in the catalytic cavity. Different methods based on reproducing the molecular electrostatic potential or an atoms in molecules approach were investigated. Finally, the reaction mechanism is analyzed with the mean reaction force and the influence of the three residues is disclosed. Our results show that Pin1 specifically catalyzes the isomerization of the trans conformer in a jump-rope type of motion, as suggested by us and confirmed experimentally by others. This is accomplished by anchoring the threonine phosphate residue on one end of the peptide through electrostatic interactions with the basic triad of the enzyme and at the other end through specific enzyme–peptide hydrogen bonds. Cys-113 reduces the structural contribution to the activation free energy through the stabilization of the cis conformer, and Ser-154 in combination with Gln-131 assist in the isomerization reaction of the trans isomer.