A theoretical study of radical-only and combined radical/carbocationic mechanisms of arachidonic acid cyclooxygenation by prostaglandin H synthase
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Prostaglandin H synthase catalyzes the oxygenation of arachidonic acid into the cyclic endoperoxide, prostaglandin G2 (PGG2), and the subsequent reduction of PGG2 to the corresponding alcohol, prostaglandin H2 (PGH2), the precursor of all prostaglandins and thromboxanes. Both radical abstraction by a neighboring tyrosyl radical and combined radical/carbocationic models have been proposed to explain the cyclooxygenase part of this reaction. We have used density functional theory calculations to study the mechanism of the formation of the cyclooxygenated product PGG2. We found an activation free energy for the initial hydrogen abstraction by the tyrosine radical of 15.6 kcal/mol, and of 14.5 kcal/mol for peroxo bridge formation, in remarkable agreement with the experimental value of 15.0 kcal/mol. Subsequent steps of the radical-based mechanism were found to happen with smaller barriers. A combined radical/carbocation mechanism proceeding through a sigmatropic hydrogen shift was ruled out, owing to its much larger activation free energy of 36.5 kcal/mol. Supplementary material is available in the online version of this article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00214-003-0476-9. Electronic Supplementary MaterialSupplementary material is available in the online version of this article athttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00214-003-0476-9
KeywordsCyclooxygenase – Mechanism – Radical – Carbocation – Density functional theory
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