On the stereochemistry of catalysis by serine proteases

L. Polgár, Bence Asbóth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


From stereochemical considerations and model building the following conclusions were drawn for the stereochemistry of the catalytic steps of chymotrypsin and subtilisin. (1) In contrast to previous stereochemical investigations, rotation of 120° or more of the oxygen atom of the "reactive" serine residue is not possible in the course of the reaction with specific substrates. (2) During catalysis the serine oxygen atom is approximately in the position found in the crystalline enzyme, i.e. at a distance of about 3 Å from the nitrogen atom of the catalytically important histidine residue. (3) The detailed stereochemical mechanism involves the formation of a strained tetrahedral intermediate and a strained acylenzyme. The strain energy is supplied by the formation of a hydrogen bond between the enzyme and a specific substrate. (4) The geometry of proton transfers in the intimate encounter complex of chymotrypsin is slightly but significantly different from that of subtilisin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-558
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'On the stereochemistry of catalysis by serine proteases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this