Directional conformer exchange in dihydrofolate reductase revealed by single-molecule nanopore recordings

Galenkamp, N. S., Biesemans, A. & Maglia, G., 1-May-2020, In : Nature Chemistry. 12, 5, p. 481-488 8 p.

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Conformational heterogeneity is emerging as a defining characteristic of enzyme function. However, understanding the role of protein conformations requires their thermodynamic and kinetic characterization at the single-molecule level, which remains extremely challenging. Here we report the ligand-induced conformational changes of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) by measuring the modulation of the nanopore currents. The long observation time of the electrical recordings enabled the detection of rare conformational transitions hidden in ensemble measurements. We show that DHFR exists in at least four ground-state configurations or conformers with different affinities for its ligands. Unliganded DHFR adopted low-affinity conformers, whereas the binding of substrates promoted the switch to the high-affinity conformer. Conversion between the conformers was accelerated by molecules that stabilized the transition state of DHFR, which suggests that the reaction lowers the energy barrier for conformer exchange and thus facilitates product release. This mechanism might be a general feature in enzymatic reactions affected by product inhibition or when the release of products is the rate-limiting step. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number5
Early online date6-Apr-2020
Publication statusPublished - 1-May-2020

ID: 122011852