Although protein function is thought to depend on flexibility, precisely how the dynamics of the molecule and its environment contribute to catalytic mechanisms is unclear. We review experimental and computational work relating to enzyme dynamics and function, including the role of solvent. The evidence suggests that fast motions on the 100 ps timescale, and any motions coupled to these, are not required for enzyme function. Proteins where the function is electron transfer, proton tunneling, or ligand binding may have different dynamical dependencies from those for enzymes, and enzymes with large turnover numbers may have different dynamical dependencies from those that turn over more slowly. The timescale differences between the fastest anharmonic fluctuations and the barrier-crossing rate point to the need to develop methods to resolve the range of motions present in enzymes on different time- and lengthscales.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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