Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is important in cocaine metabolism, but it hydrolyzes (-)-cocaine only one-two thousandth as fast as the unnatural (+)-stereoisomer. A starting point in engineering BChE mutants that rapidly clear cocaine from the bloodstream, for overdose treatment, is to elucidate structural factors underlying the stereochemical difference in catalysis. Here, we report two three-dimensional Michaelis-Menten complexes of BChE liganded with natural and unnatural cocaine molecules, respectively, that were derived from molecular modeling and supported by experimental studies. Such complexes revealed that the benzoic ester group of both cocaine stereoisomers must rotate toward the catalytic Ser(198) for hydrolysis. Rotation of (-)-cocaine appears to be hindered by interactions of its phenyl ring with Phe(329) and Trp(430). These interactions do not occur with (+)-cocaine. Because the rate of (-)-cocaine hydrolysis is predicted to be determined mainly by the re-orientation step, it should not be greatly influenced by pH. In fact, measured rates of this reaction were nearly constant over the pH range from 5.5 to 8.5, despite large rate changes in hydrolysis of (+)-cocaine. Our models can explain why BChE hydrolyzes (+)-cocaine faster than (-)-cocaine, and they suggest that mutations of certain residues in the catalytic site could greatly improve catalytic efficiency and the potential for detoxication.
Predicted Michaelis-Menten complexes of cocaine-butyrylcholinesterase. Engineering effective butyrylcholinesterase mutants for cocaine detoxication.,Sun H, El Yazal J, Lockridge O, Schopfer LM, Brimijoin S, Pang YP J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 23;276(12):9330-6. Epub 2000 Dec 4. PMID:11104759
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
↑ Sun H, El Yazal J, Lockridge O, Schopfer LM, Brimijoin S, Pang YP. Predicted Michaelis-Menten complexes of cocaine-butyrylcholinesterase. Engineering effective butyrylcholinesterase mutants for cocaine detoxication. J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 23;276(12):9330-6. Epub 2000 Dec 4. PMID:11104759 doi:10.1074/jbc.M006676200