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Dr. Lim, Carmay

Emeritus Research Fellow
  • +886-2-2789-9043 (Lab) (Room No: N117)
  • +886-2-2652-3031 (Office)
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  • Computational Biophysics
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Bioinformatics

Education and Positions:
  • 1984, Ph.D. in Chemical Physics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

    1979, B.S. in Chemistry, Royal Holloway College, London University


Highlight Detail

How Native and Alien Metal Cations Bind ATP: Implications for Lithium as a Therapeutic Agent

Dr. Lim, Carmay
Scientific Reports, Feb 14, 2017

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the major energy currency of the cell, exists in solution mostly as ATP-Mg. Recent experiments suggest that Mg2+ interacts with the highly charged ATP triphosphate group and Li+ can co-bind with the native Mg2+ to form ATP-Mg-Li and modulate the neuronal purine receptor response. However, it is unclear how the negatively charged ATP triphosphate group binds Mg2+ and Li+ (i.e. which phosphate group(s) bind Mg2+/Li+) and how the ATP solution conformation depends on the type of metal cation and the metal-binding mode. Here, we reveal the preferred ATP-binding mode of Mg2+/Li+ alone and combined: Mg2+ prefers to bind ATP tridentately to each of the three phosphate groups, but Li+ prefers to bind bidentately to the terminal two phosphates. We show that the solution ATP conformation depends on the cation and its binding site/mode, but it does not change significantly when Li+ binds to Mg2+-loaded ATP. Hence, ATP-Mg-Li, like Mg2+-ATP, can fit in the ATP-binding site of the host enzyme/receptor, activating specific signaling pathways.