Theoretical insights into the mechanism of acetylcholinesterase-catalyzed acylation of acetylcholine

J Comput Chem. 2005 Apr 30;26(6):606-11. doi: 10.1002/jcc.20199.


Acylation of acetylcholine (ACh) catalyzed by acetylcholinesterase (AChE) has been studied using high-level theoretical calculations on a model system that mimics the reaction center of the enzyme, and compared with uncatalyzed acylation reaction. The geometries of all the intermediates and transition states, activation energies, and solvent effects have been calculated. The calculations predict simultaneous formation of two short-strong hydrogen bonds (SSHB) in the rate-determining transition state structures [the first SSHB involves the hydrogen atom of Ser-200 (H(s)) and another involves the hydrogen atom of His-440 (H(h))]. In the intermediate states, the H-bond corresponding to H(h) involves SSHB, whereas the one corresponding to H(s) does not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / chemistry*
  • Acetylcholinesterase / chemistry
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Acylation
  • Catalysis
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Acetylcholine