The conformational dynamics of cytochrome P450 enzymes are critical to their catalytic activity. In this study, the correlated motion between residues in a 200 ns molecular dynamics trajectory of the thermophilic CYP119 was analyzed to parse out conformational relationships. Residues that are structurally related, for example residues within a helix, generally have highly correlated motion. In addition, clusters of non-adjacent residues that show correlated motion (“hot spots”) are seen in various regions, including at the base of the F and G helices that make up the most dynamic region of the enzyme. A modified k-means algorithm that clusters residues based on their correlated motion indicates that functionally related residues are in the same cluster (e.g., the catalytic threonines and the heme). Tightly coupled clusters form a solvent-exposed “shell” around the enzyme, whereas less coupling between clusters is seen in regions that are critical to ligand interactions, redox partner interactions, and catalysis. Most notably, we find that residues in the active site move independently from the rest of the enzyme, effectively insulating the catalytic machinery from other regions of the protein.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011 May 15;509(2):127-32. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2011.02.020. Epub 2011 Feb 26.