Research Article Open Access

Molecular Dynamics Studies of Human β-Glucuronidase

Ibrahim Ali Noorbatcha, Ayesha Masrur Khan and Hamzah Mohd Salleh


Problem statement: The enzyme β-glucuronidase is being used as a reporter molecule in the area of genetic engineering, as a component of prodrug therapy in cancer treatment and in the scouring process of cotton fabrics. However, a detailed understanding of the factors responsible for the stability and the activity of this enzyme is still not available. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations provide an estimate of equilibrium and dynamic properties of enzyme systems that cannot be calculated analytically. With this perspective, molecular dynamics simulations of human β-glucuronidase (GUS) have been carried out to determine the behavior of this enzyme in vacuum and solvent environments at a defined temperature. Approach: CHARMM force field along with distance dependent dielectric model was used to represent the solvent environment in the MD simulations. The parameters employed in various stages of MD simulations had been selected based on repeated trials under various conditions as a method of choosing the optimum parameters for each stage. Results: It was found that simulations in vacuum caused the backbone of GUS to have smaller fluctuations from their mean values compared with the fluctuation in implicit solvent simulations, due to the fact that vacuum environment did not provide for the electrostatic interactions affecting the backbone of GUS that may otherwise exist in a solvent environment. Conclusion: Inclusion of solvent effects in MD simulations is crucial in understanding structural flexibility and stability of β-glucuronidase. Implicit solvent method can provide a realistic inclusion of backbone flexibility and structural compactness of GUS, which will have profound influence on the stability and activity of the enzymes, with a marginal increase in computational time.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 7 No. 6, 2010, 823-828


Submitted On: 30 November 2004 Published On: 30 June 2010

How to Cite: Noorbatcha, I. A., Khan, A. M. & Salleh, H. M. (2010). Molecular Dynamics Studies of Human β-Glucuronidase. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 7(6), 823-828.

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  • β-glucuronidase (GUS)
  • Molecular Dynamics (MD)
  • implicit solvent model
  • backbone flexibility