A transition state analogue was used to produce a mouse antibody that catalyzes transesterification in water. The antibody behaves as a highly efficient catalyst with a covalent intermediate and the characteristic of induced fit. While some features of the catalytic pathway were programmed when the hapten was designed and reflect favorable substrate-antibody interactions, other features are a manifestation of the chemical potential of antibody diversity. The fact that antibodies recapitulate mechanisms and pathways previously thought to be a characteristic of highly evolved enzymes suggests that once an appropriate binding cavity is achieved, reaction pathways commensurate with the intrinsic chemical potential of proteins ensue.
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