Technical Comments

Response to Comments on “Extreme electric fields power catalysis in the active site of ketosteroid isomerase”

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Science  28 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6251, pp. 936
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1627

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Natarajan et al. and Chen and Savidge comment that comparing the electric field in ketosteroid isomerase’s (KSI’s) active site to zero overestimates the catalytic effect of KSI’s electric field because the reference reaction occurs in water, which itself exerts a sizable electrostatic field. To compensate, Natarajan et al. argue that additional catalytic weight arises from positioning of the general base, whereas Chen and Savidge propose a separate contribution from desolvation of the general base. We note that the former claim is not well supported by published results, and the latter claim is intriguing but lacks experimental basis. We also take the opportunity to clarify some of the more conceptually subtle aspects of electrostatic catalysis.

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