Investigation of the Catalytic Mechanism of Sir2 Enzyme with QM/MM Approach: SN1 vs SN2?

Sir2, the histone deacetylase III family, has been subjected to a wide range of studies because of their crucial
roles in DNA repair, longevity, transcriptional silencing, genome stability, apoptosis, and fat mobilization.
The enzyme binds NAD+ and acetyllysine as substrates and generates lysine, 2′-O-acetyl-ADP-ribose, and
nicotinamide as products. However, the mechanism of the first step in Sir2 deacetylation reaction from various
studies is controversial. To characterize this catalytic mechanism of acetyllysine deacetylation by Sir2, we
employed a combined computational approach to carry out molecular modeling, molecular dynamics (MD)
simulations, quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations on catalysis by both yeast Hst2
(homologue of SIR two 2) and bacterial Sir2TM (Sir2 homologue from Thermatoga maritima). Our threedimensional
(3D) model of the complex is composed of Sir2 protein, NAD+, and acetyllysine (ALY) substrate.
A 15-ns MD simulation of the complex revealed that Gln115 and His135 play a determining role in
deacetylation. These two residues can act as bases to facilitate the deprotonation of 2′-OH from N-ribose.
The result is in great agreement with previous mutagenesis analysis data. QM/MM calculations were further
performed to study the mechanism of the first step in deacetylation in the two systems. The predicted potential
energy barriers for yHst2 and Sir2TM are 12.0 and 15.7 kcal/mol, respectively. The characteristics of the
potential energy surface indicated this reaction belongs to a SN2-like mechanism. These results provide insights
into the Sir2 mechanism of nicotinamide inhibition and have important implications for the discovery of
effectors against Sir2 enzymes.