The Phosphorylation Mechanism of Mevalonate Diphosphate Decarboxylase, a QM/MM Study

James McClory, Chenggong Hui, Jian Zhang, Meilan Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


Mevalonate diphosphate decarboxylase (MDD) catalyses a crucial step of the mevalonate pathway via Mg2+-ATP dependent phosphorylation and decarboxylation reactions to ultimately produce isopentenyl diphosphate, the precursor of isoprenoids, which is essential to bacteria functions and offers ideal building blocks for the biosynthesis of isopentenols. However, the metal ion(s) in MDD has not been unambiguously resolved, which limits the understanding of the catalytic mechanism and the exploitation of the enzyme for the development of antibacterial therapies or the mevalonate metabolic pathway for the biosynthesise of biofuels. Here by analogizing the structurally related kinases and molecular dynamics simulations, we constructed a model of the MDD-substrate-ATP-Mg2+ complex and propose MDD requires two Mg2+ ions for maintaining a catalytically active conformation. Subsequent QM/MM studies indicate MDD catalyses the phosphorylation of its substrate mevalonate diphosphate (MVAPP) via a direct phosphorylation reaction, instead of the previously assumed catalytic base mechanism. The results here would shed light for the active conformation of MDD related enzymes and their catalytic mechanisms and therefore be useful for developing novel antimicrobial therapies or reconstructing mevalonate metabolic pathway for the biosynthesis of biofuels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 518-529
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Issue number3
Early online date11 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

J McClory acknowledges the financial support of DfE studentship.


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