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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 628536, 7 pages
Research Article

Molecular Dynamics Studies on the Conformational Transitions of Adenylate Kinase: A Computational Evidence for the Conformational Selection Mechanism

1Pathogen Diagnostic Center, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200025, China
2Shanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology, 100 Qinzhou Road, Shanghai 200235, China
3Bioinformatics Center, Key Laboratory of Systems Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
4Key Laboratory of Systems Biomedicine (Ministry of Education), Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Received 5 April 2013; Accepted 13 June 2013

Academic Editor: Yudong Cai

Copyright © 2013 Jie Ping et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Escherichia coli adenylate kinase (ADK) is a monomeric phosphotransferase enzyme that catalyzes reversible transfer of phosphoryl group from ATP to AMP with a large-scale domain motion. The detailed mechanism for this conformational transition remains unknown. In the current study, we performed long time-scale molecular dynamics simulations on both open and closed states of ADK. Based on the structural analyses of the simulation trajectories, we detected over 20 times conformational transitions between the open and closed states of ADK and identified two novel conformations as intermediate states in the catalytic processes. With these findings, we proposed a possible mechanism for the large-scale domain motion of Escherichia coli ADK and its catalytic process: (1) the substrate free ADK adopted an open conformation; (2) ATP bound with LID domain closure; (3) AMP bound with NMP domain closure; (4) phosphoryl transfer occurred with ATP, and AMP converted into two ADPs, and no conformational transition was detected in the enzyme; (5) LID domain opened with one ADP released; (6) another ADP released with NMP domain open. As both open and closed states sampled a wide range of conformation transitions, our simulation strongly supported the conformational selection mechanism for Escherichia coli ADK.