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pH-dependent conformational dynamics of beta-secretase 1: A molecular dynamics study.

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Beta-secretase 1 (BACE-1) is an aspartyl protease implicated in the overproduction of β-amyloid fibrils responsible for Alzheimer disease. The process of β-amyloid genesis is known to be pH dependent, with an activity peak between solution pH of 3.5 and 5.5. We have studied the pH-dependent dynamics of BACE-1 to better understand the pH dependent mechanism. We have implemented support for graphics processor unit (GPU) accelerated constant pH molecular dynamics within the AMBER molecular dynamics software package and employed this to determine the relative population of different aspartyl dyad protonation states in the pH range of greatest β-amyloid production, followed by conventional molecular dynamics to explore the differences among the various aspartyl dyad protonation states. We observed a difference in dynamics between double-protonated, mono-protonated, and double-deprotonated states over the known pH range of higher activity. These differences include Tyr 71-aspartyl dyad proximity and active water lifetime. This work indicates that Tyr 71 stabilizes catalytic water in the aspartyl dyad active site, enabling BACE-1 activity.

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