ResearchPad - computational-chemistry https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Crystal structure of <i>Thermus thermophilus</i> methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase and determinants of thermostability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13865 The elucidation of mechanisms behind the thermostability of proteins is extremely important both from the theoretical and applied perspective. Here we report the crystal structure of methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD) from Thermus thermophilus HB8, a thermophilic model organism. Molecular dynamics trajectory analysis of this protein at different temperatures (303 K, 333 K and 363 K) was compared with homologous proteins from the less temperature resistant organism Thermoplasma acidophilum and the mesophilic organism Acinetobacter baumannii using several data reduction techniques like principal component analysis (PCA), residue interaction network (RIN) analysis and rotamer analysis. These methods enabled the determination of important residues for the thermostability of this enzyme. The description of rotamer distributions by Gini coefficients and Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence both revealed significant correlations with temperature. The emerging view seems to indicate that a static salt bridge/charged residue network plays a fundamental role in the temperature resistance of Thermus thermophilus MTHFD by enhancing both electrostatic interactions and entropic energy dispersion. Furthermore, this analysis uncovered a relationship between residue mutations and evolutionary pressure acting on thermophilic organisms and thus could be of use for the design of future thermostable enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Chemical profile of Lippia thymoides, evaluation of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of its essential oil, and molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c194fd5eed0c484b4d3c7

The essential oils of the fresh and dry flowers, leaves, branches, and roots of Lippia thymoides were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed using gas chromatography (GC) and GC–mass spectrometry (MS). The acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of the essential oil of fresh leaves was investigated on silica gel plates. The interactions of the key compounds with acetylcholinesterase were simulated by molecular docking and molecular dynamics studies. In total, 75 compounds were identified, and oxygenated monoterpenes were the dominant components of all the plant parts, ranging from 19.48% to 84.99%. In the roots, the main compounds were saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, having contents varying from 39.5% to 32.17%, respectively. In the evaluation of the anticholinesterase activity, the essential oils (detection limit (DL) = 0.1 ng/spot) were found to be about ten times less active than that of physostigmine (DL = 0.01ng/spot), whereas thymol and thymol acetate presented DL values each of 0.01 ng/spot, equivalent to that of the positive control. Based on the docking and molecular dynamics studies, thymol and thymol acetate interact with the catalytic residues Ser203 and His447 of the active site of acetylcholinesterase. The binding free energies (ΔGbind) for these ligands were -18.49 and -26.88 kcal/mol, demonstrating that the ligands are able to interact with the protein and inhibit their catalytic activity.

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<![CDATA[The ability of locked nucleic acid oligonucleotides to pre-structure the double helix: A molecular simulation and binding study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7570d5eed0c4843cfda2

Locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides bind DNA target sequences forming Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen base pairs, and are therefore of interest for medical applications. To be biologically active, such an oligonucleotide has to efficiently bind the target sequence. Here we used molecular dynamics simulations and electrophoresis mobility shift assays to elucidate the relation between helical structure and affinity for LNA-containing oligonucleotides. In particular, we have studied how LNA substitutions in the polypyrimidine strand of a duplex (thus forming a hetero duplex, i.e. a duplex with a DNA polypurine strand and an LNA/DNA polypyrimidine strand) enhance triplex formation. Based on seven polypyrimidine single strand oligonucleotides, having LNAs in different positions and quantities, we show that alternating LNA with one or more non-modified DNA nucleotides pre-organizes the hetero duplex toward a triple-helical-like conformation. This in turn promotes triplex formation, while consecutive LNAs distort the duplex structure disfavoring triplex formation. The results support the hypothesis that a pre-organization in the hetero duplex structure enhances the binding of triplex forming oligonucleotides. Our findings may serve as a criterion in the design of new tools for efficient oligonucleotide hybridization.

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<![CDATA[Molecular dynamic (MD) studies on Gln233Arg (rs1137101) polymorphism of leptin receptor gene and associated variations in the anthropometric and metabolic profiles of Saudi women]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1542d5eed0c48467afac

The Gln233Arg (A>G; rs1137101) polymorphism of the leptin receptor gene (LEPR) has been investigated extensively and is reported to be associated with different metabolic states. In this investigation, we aimed to study the frequency of Gln233Arg genotypes and alleles in a group of Saudi women stratified by their body mass index (BMI), to correlate the LEPR genotypes with variations in anthropometric, lipid and hormonal parameters and to investigate conformational and structural variations in the mutant LEPR using molecular dynamic (MD) investigations. The study group included 122 Saudi women (normal weight = 60; obese = 62) attending the clinics for a routine checkup. Anthropometric data: height, weight, waist and hip circumference were recorded and fasting serum sample was used to estimate glucose, lipids, ghrelin, leptin and insulin. BMI, W/H ratio, and HOMA-IR values were calculated. Whole blood sample was used to extract DNA; exon 6 of the LEPR gene was amplified by PCR and sequencing was conducted on an ABI 3100 Avant Genetic Analyser. Molecular Dynamic Simulation studies were carried out using different softwares. The results showed the presence of all three genotypes of Gln233Arg in Saudi women, but the frequencies were significantly different when compared to reports from some populations. No differences were seen in the genotype and allele frequencies between the normal weight and obese women. Stratification by the genotypes showed significantly higher BMI, waist and hip circumference, leptin, insulin, fasting glucose and HOMA-IR and lower ghrelin levels in obese women carrying the GG genotype. Even in the normal weight group, individuals with GG genotype had higher BMI, waist and hip circumference and significantly lower ghrelin levels. The MD studies showed a significant effect of the Gln/Arg substitution on the conformation, flexibility, root-mean-square fluctuation (RMSF), radius of gyration (Rg) values, solvent-accessible surface area (SASA) and number of inter- and intra-molecular H-bonds. The results suggest that the structural changes brought about by the mutation, influence the signaling pathways by some unknown mechanism, which may be contributing to the abnormalities seen in the individuals carrying the G allele of rs1137101.

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<![CDATA[Metal based donepezil analogues designed to inhibit human acetylcholinesterase for Alzheimer’s disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe06d5eed0c484e5b2cd

Among neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common disorders showing slow progressive cognitive decline. Targeting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is one of the major strategies for AD therapeutics, as cholinergic pathways in the cerebral cortex and basal forebrain are compromised. Herein, we report the design of some copper and other metal based donepezil derivatives, employing density functional theory (DFT). All designed compounds are optimized at the B3LYP/SDD level of theory. Dipole moments, electronic energie, enthalpies, Gibbs free energies, and HOMO-LUMO gaps of these modified compounds are also investigated in the subsequent analysis. The molecules were then subjected to molecular docking analysis with AChE to study the molecular interactions broadly. Ensemble based docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the best candidates were also performed. Docking and MD simulation reveal that modified drugs are more potent than unmodified donepezil, where Trp86, Tyr337, Phe330 residues play some important roles in drug-receptor interactions. According to ensemble based docking, D9 shows greater binding affinity compared to the parent in most conformations obtained from protein data bank and MD simulation. In addition, it is observed that the π- π stacking with the residues of Trp86, Tyr337, Tyr341, Tyr124 and Trp286 may be required for strong ligand binding. Moreover, ADME/T analysis suggests that modified derivatives are less toxic and have improved pharmacokinetic properties than those of the parent drug. These results further confirm the ability of metal-directed drugs to bind simultaneously to the active sites of AChE and support them as potential candidates for the future treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

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<![CDATA[Kinetic and thermodynamic insights into sodium ion translocation through the μ-opioid receptor from molecular dynamics and machine learning analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536a92d5eed0c484a47639

The differential modulation of agonist and antagonist binding to opioid receptors (ORs) by sodium (Na+) has been known for decades. To shed light on the molecular determinants, thermodynamics, and kinetics of Na+ translocation through the μ-OR (MOR), we used a multi-ensemble Markov model framework combining equilibrium and non-equilibrium atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of Na+ binding to MOR active or inactive crystal structures embedded in an explicit lipid bilayer. We identify an energetically favorable, continuous ion pathway through the MOR active conformation only, and provide, for the first time: i) estimates of the energy differences and required timescales of Na+ translocation in inactive and active MORs, ii) estimates of Na+-induced changes to agonist binding validated by radioligand measurements, and iii) testable hypotheses of molecular determinants and correlated motions involved in this translocation, which are likely to play a key role in MOR signaling.

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<![CDATA[Potential off-target effects of beta-blockers on gut hormone receptors: In silico study including GUT-DOCK—A web service for small-molecule docking]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e6e2d5eed0c484ef412a

The prolonged use of many currently available drugs results in the severe side effect of the disruption of glucose metabolism leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM. Gut hormone receptors including glucagon receptor (GCGR) and the incretin hormone receptors: glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1R) and gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor (GIPR) are important drug targets for the treatment of T2DM, as they play roles in the regulation of glucose and insulin levels and of food intake. In this study, we hypothesized that we could compensate for the negative influences of specific drugs on glucose metabolism by the positive incretin effect enhanced by the off-target interactions with incretin GPCR receptors. As a test case, we chose to examine beta-blockers because beta-adrenergic receptors and incretin receptors are expressed in a similar location, making off-target interactions possible. The binding affinity of drugs for incretin receptors was approximated by using two docking scoring functions of Autodock VINA (GUT-DOCK) and Glide (Schrodinger) and juxtaposing these values with the medical information on drug-induced T2DM. We observed that beta-blockers with the highest theoretical binding affinities for gut hormone receptors were reported as the least harmful to glucose homeostasis in clinical trials. Notably, a recently discovered beta-blocker compound 15 ([4-((2S)-3-(((S)-3-(3-bromophenyl)-1-(methylamino)-1-oxopropan-2-yl)amino)-2-(2-cyclohexyl-2-phenylacetamido)-3-oxopropyl)benzamide was among the top-scoring drugs, potentially supporting its use in the treatment of hypertension in diabetic patients. Our recently developed web service GUT-DOCK (gut-dock.miningmembrane.com) allows for the execution of similar studies for any drug-like molecule. Specifically, users can compute the binding affinities for various class B GPCRs, gut hormone receptors, VIPR1 and PAC1R.

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<![CDATA[Thioguanine-based DENV-2 NS2B/NS3 protease inhibitors: Virtual screening, synthesis, biological evaluation and molecular modelling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536b8fd5eed0c484a48cc8

Dengue virus Type 2 (DENV-2) is predominant serotype causing major dengue epidemics. There are a number of studies carried out to find its effective antiviral, however to date, there is still no molecule either from peptide or small molecules released as a drug. The present study aims to identify small molecules inhibitor from National Cancer Institute database through virtual screening. One of the hits, D0713 (IC50 = 62 μM) bearing thioguanine scaffold was derivatised into 21 compounds and evaluated for DENV-2 NS2B/NS3 protease inhibitory activity. Compounds 18 and 21 demonstrated the most potent activity with IC50 of 0.38 μM and 16 μM, respectively. Molecular dynamics and MM/PBSA free energy of binding calculation were conducted to study the interaction mechanism of these compounds with the protease. The free energy of binding of 18 calculated by MM/PBSA is -16.10 kcal/mol compared to the known inhibitor, panduratin A (-11.27 kcal/mol), which corroborates well with the experimental observation. Results from molecular dynamics simulations also showed that both 18 and 21 bind in the active site and stabilised by the formation of hydrogen bonds with Asn174.

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<![CDATA[Characterisation of a type II functionally-deficient variant of alpha-1-antitrypsin discovered in the general population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424390d5eed0c4845e05dc

Lung disease in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) results from dysregulated proteolytic activity, mainly by neutrophil elastase (HNE), in the lung parenchyma. This is the result of a substantial reduction of circulating alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) and the presence in the plasma of inactive polymers of AAT. Moreover, some AAT mutants have reduced intrinsic activity toward HNE, as demonstrated for the common Z mutant, as well as for other rarer variants. Here we report the identification and characterisation of the novel AAT reactive centre loop variant Gly349Arg (p.G373R) present in the ExAC database. This AAT variant is secreted at normal levels in cellular models of AATD but shows a severe reduction in anti-HNE activity. Biochemical and molecular dynamics studies suggest it exhibits unfavourable RCL presentation to cognate proteases and compromised insertion of the RCL into β-sheet A. Identification of a fully dysfunctional AAT mutant that does not show a secretory defect underlines the importance of accurate genotyping of patients with pulmonary AATD manifestations regardless of the presence of normal levels of AAT in the circulation. This subtype of disease is reminiscent of dysfunctional phenotypes in anti-thrombin and C1-inibitor deficiencies so, accordingly, we classify this variant as the first pure functionally-deficient (type II) AATD mutant.

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<![CDATA[Potent, multi-target serine protease inhibition achieved by a simplified β-sheet motif]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c48fd5eed0c4845e88ff

Engagement of an extended β-sheet is a common substrate/inhibitor interaction at the active site of serine proteases and is an important feature of Laskowski mechanism inhibitors that present a substrate-like loop to a target protease. This loop is cleaved but subsequently relegated forming a stable inhibitor/protease complex. Laskowski inhibitors are ubiquitous in nature and are used extensively in serine protease inhibitor design. However, most studies concentrate on introducing new sidechain interactions rather than the direct contributions of the substrate-like β-sheet to enzyme inhibition. Here we report the crystal structure of an simplified β-sheet inhibitory motif within the Sunflower Trypsin Inhibitor (SFTI) in complex with trypsin. We show that the intramolecular hydrogen bond network of this SFTI variant (SFTI-TCTR) engages the inhibitor sidechains that would normally interact with a target protease, giving mainchain interactions a more prominent role in complex formation. Despite having reduced sidechain interactions, this SFTI variant is remarkably potent and inhibits a diverse range of serine proteases. Crystal structural analysis and molecular modelling of SFTI-TCTR complexes again indicates an interface dominated by β–sheet interactions, highlighting the importance of this motif and the adaptability of SFTI as a scaffold for inhibitor design.

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<![CDATA[Energy landscape for the insertion of amphiphilic nanoparticles into lipid membranes: A computational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa610d5eed0c484cabadc

Amphiphilic, monolayer-protected gold nanoparticles (NPs) have been shown to enter cells via a non-endocytic, non-disruptive pathway that could be valuable for biomedical applications. The same NPs were also found to insert into a series of model cell membranes as a precursor to cellular uptake, but the insertion mechanism remains unclear. Previous simulations have demonstrated that an amphiphilic NP can insert into a single leaflet of a planar lipid bilayer, but in this configuration all charged end groups are localized to one side of the bilayer and it is unknown if further insertion is thermodynamically favorable. Here, we use atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to show that an amphiphilic NP can reach the bilayer midplane non-disruptively if charged ligands iteratively “flip” across the bilayer. Ligand flipping is a favorable process that relaxes bilayer curvature, decreases the nonpolar solvent-accessible surface area of the NP monolayer, and increases attractive ligand-lipid electrostatic interactions. Analysis of end group hydration further indicates that iterative ligand flipping can occur on experimentally relevant timescales. Supported by these results, we present a complete energy landscape for the non-disruptive insertion of amphiphilic NPs into lipid bilayers. These findings will help guide the design of NPs to enhance bilayer insertion and non-endocytic cellular uptake, and also provide physical insight into a possible pathway for the translocation of charged biomacromolecules.

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<![CDATA[Binding of the general anesthetic sevoflurane to ion channels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c059df1d5eed0c4849c981e

The direct-site hypothesis assumes general anesthetics bind ion channels to impact protein equilibrium and function, inducing anesthesia. Despite advancements in the field, a first principle all-atom demonstration of this structure-function premise is still missing. We focus on the clinically used sevoflurane interaction to anesthetic-sensitive Kv1.2 mammalian channel to resolve if sevoflurane binds protein’s well-characterized open and closed structures in a conformation-dependent manner to shift channel equilibrium. We employ an innovative approach relying on extensive docking calculations and free-energy perturbation of all potential binding sites revealed by the latter, and find sevoflurane binds open and closed structures at multiple sites under complex saturation and concentration effects. Results point to a non-trivial interplay of site and conformation-dependent modes of action involving distinct binding sites that increase channel open-probability at diluted ligand concentrations. Given the challenge in exploring more complex processes potentially impacting channel-anesthetic interaction, the result is revealing as it demonstrates the process of multiple anesthetic binding events alone may account for open-probability shifts recorded in measurements.

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<![CDATA[Towards a molecular basis of ubiquitin signaling: A dual-scale simulation study of ubiquitin dimers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf86f60d5eed0c48405a957

Covalent modification of proteins by ubiquitin or ubiquitin chains is one of the most prevalent post-translational modifications in eukaryotes. Different types of ubiquitin chains are assumed to selectively signal respectively modified proteins for different fates. In support of this hypothesis, structural studies have shown that the eight possible ubiquitin dimers adopt different conformations. However, at least in some cases, these structures cannot sufficiently explain the molecular basis of the selective signaling mechanisms. This indicates that the available structures represent only a few distinct conformations within the entire conformational space adopted by a ubiquitin dimer. Here, molecular simulations on different levels of resolution can complement the structural information. We have combined exhaustive coarse grained and atomistic simulations of all eight possible ubiquitin dimers with a suitable dimensionality reduction technique and a new method to characterize protein-protein interfaces and the conformational landscape of protein conjugates. We found that ubiquitin dimers exhibit characteristic linkage type-dependent properties in solution, such as interface stability and the character of contacts between the subunits, which can be directly correlated with experimentally observed linkage-specific properties.

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<![CDATA[Conformational sampling of CpxA: Connecting HAMP motions to the histidine kinase function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2400b7d5eed0c484098be2

In the histidine kinase family, the HAMP and DHp domains are considered to play an important role into the transmission of signal arising from environmental conditions to the auto-phosphorylation site and to the binding site of response regulator. Several conformational motions inside HAMP have been proposed to transmit this signal: (i) the gearbox model, (ii) α helices rotations, pistons and scissoring, (iii) transition between ordered and disordered states. In the present work, we explore by temperature-accelerated molecular dynamics (TAMD), an enhanced sampling technique, the conformational space of the cytoplasmic region of histidine kinase CpxA. Several HAMP motions, corresponding to α helices rotations, pistoning and scissoring have been detected and correlated to the segmental motions of HAMP and DHp domains of CpxA.

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<![CDATA[Combining multi-scale modelling methods to decipher molecular motions of a branching sucrase from glycoside-hydrolase family 70]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6d94bd463d7e2f79286cc2

Among α-transglucosylases from Glycoside-Hydrolase family 70, the ΔN123-GB-CD2 enzyme derived from the bifunctional DSR-E from L. citreum NRRL B-1299 is particularly interesting as it was the first described engineered Branching Sucrase, not able to elongate glucan polymers from sucrose substrate. The previously reported overall structural organization of this multi-domain enzyme is an intricate U-shape fold conserved among GH70 enzymes which showed a certain conformational variability of the so-called domain V, assumed to play a role in the control of product structures, in available X-ray structures. Understanding the role of functional dynamics on enzyme reaction and substrate recognition is of utmost interest although it remains a challenge for biophysical methods. By combining long molecular dynamics simulation (1μs) and multiple analyses (NMA, PCA, Morelet Continuous Wavelet Transform and Cross Correlations Dynamics), we investigated here the dynamics of ΔN123-GB-CD2 alone and in interaction with sucrose substrate. Overall, our results provide the detailed picture at atomic level of the hierarchy of motions occurring along different timescales and how they are correlated, in agreement with experimental structural data. In particular, detailed analysis of the different structural domains revealed cooperative dynamic behaviors such as twisting, bending and wobbling through anti- and correlated motions, and also two structural hinge regions, of which one was unreported. Several highly flexible loops surrounding the catalytic pocket were also highlighted, suggesting a potential role in the acceptor promiscuity of ΔN123-GBD-CD2. Normal modes and essential dynamics underlined an interesting two-fold dynamic of the catalytic domain A, pivoting about an axis splitting the catalytic gorge in two parts. The comparison of the conformational free energy landscapes using principal component analysis of the enzyme in absence or in presence of sucrose, also revealed a more harmonic basin when sucrose is bound with a shift population of the bending mode, consistent with the substrate binding event.

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<![CDATA[Web-Based Computational Chemistry Education with CHARMMing III: Reduction Potentials of Electron Transfer Proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadbab0ee8fa60bb9e84

A module for fast determination of reduction potentials, , of redox-active proteins has been implemented in the CHARMM INterface and Graphics (CHARMMing) web portal (www.charmming.org). The free energy of reduction, which is proportional to , is composed of an intrinsic contribution due to the redox site and an environmental contribution due to the protein and solvent. Here, the intrinsic contribution is selected from a library of pre-calculated density functional theory values for each type of redox site and redox couple, while the environmental contribution is calculated from a crystal structure of the protein using Poisson-Boltzmann continuum electrostatics. An accompanying lesson demonstrates a calculation of . In this lesson, an ionizable residue in a [4Fe-4S]-protein that causes a pH-dependent is identified, and the of a mutant that would test the identification is predicted. This demonstration is valuable to both computational chemistry students and researchers interested in predicting sequence determinants of for mutagenesis.

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<![CDATA[Correlated Inter-Domain Motions in Adenylate Kinase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5eab0ee8fa60b9089d

Correlated inter-domain motions in proteins can mediate fundamental biochemical processes such as signal transduction and allostery. Here we characterize at structural level the inter-domain coupling in a multidomain enzyme, Adenylate Kinase (AK), using computational methods that exploit the shape information encoded in residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) measured under steric alignment by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). We find experimental evidence for a multi-state equilibrium distribution along the opening/closing pathway of Adenylate Kinase, previously proposed from computational work, in which inter-domain interactions disfavour states where only the AMP binding domain is closed. In summary, we provide a robust experimental technique for study of allosteric regulation in AK and other enzymes.

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<![CDATA[A Multiscale Approach to Modelling Drug Metabolism by Membrane-Bound Cytochrome P450 Enzymes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d2ab0ee8fa60b648fe

Cytochrome P450 enzymes are found in all life forms. P450s play an important role in drug metabolism, and have potential uses as biocatalysts. Human P450s are membrane-bound proteins. However, the interactions between P450s and their membrane environment are not well-understood. To date, all P450 crystal structures have been obtained from engineered proteins, from which the transmembrane helix was absent. A significant number of computational studies have been performed on P450s, but the majority of these have been performed on the solubilised forms of P450s. Here we present a multiscale approach for modelling P450s, spanning from coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations to reaction modelling using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods. To our knowledge, this is the first application of such an integrated multiscale approach to modelling of a membrane-bound enzyme. We have applied this protocol to a key human P450 involved in drug metabolism: CYP3A4. A biologically realistic model of CYP3A4, complete with its transmembrane helix and a membrane, has been constructed and characterised. The dynamics of this complex have been studied, and the oxidation of the anticoagulant R-warfarin has been modelled in the active site. Calculations have also been performed on the soluble form of the enzyme in aqueous solution. Important differences are observed between the membrane and solution systems, most notably for the gating residues and channels that control access to the active site. The protocol that we describe here is applicable to other membrane-bound enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Signaling Domain of Sonic Hedgehog as Cannibalistic Calcium-Regulated Zinc-Peptidase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da82ab0ee8fa60b9b27f

Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is a representative of the evolutionary closely related class of Hedgehog proteins that have essential signaling functions in animal development. The N-terminal domain (ShhN) is also assigned to the group of LAS proteins (LAS = Lysostaphin type enzymes, D-Ala-D-Ala metalloproteases, Sonic Hedgehog), of which all members harbor a structurally well-defined center; however, it is remarkable that ShhN so far is the only LAS member without proven peptidase activity. Another unique feature of ShhN in the LAS group is a double- center close to the zinc. We have studied the effect of these calcium ions on ShhN structure, dynamics, and interactions. We find that the presence of calcium has a marked impact on ShhN properties, with the two calcium ions having different effects. The more strongly bound calcium ion significantly stabilizes the overall structure. Surprisingly, the binding of the second calcium ion switches the putative catalytic center from a state similar to LAS enzymes to a state that probably is catalytically inactive. We describe in detail the mechanics of the switch, including the effect on substrate co-ordinating residues and on the putative catalytic water molecule. The properties of the putative substrate binding site suggest that ShhN could degrade other ShhN molecules, e.g. by cleavage at highly conserved glycines in ShhN. To test experimentally the stability of ShhN against autodegradation, we compare two ShhN mutants in vitro: (1) a ShhN mutant unable to bind calcium but with putative catalytic center intact, and thus, according to our hypothesis, a constitutively active peptidase, and (2) a mutant carrying additionally mutation E177A, i.e., with the putative catalytically active residue knocked out. The in vitro results are consistent with ShhN being a cannibalistic zinc-peptidase. These experiments also reveal that the peptidase activity depends on .

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<![CDATA[Alkylpurine Glycosylase D Employs DNA Sculpting as a Strategy to Extrude and Excise Damaged Bases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e7ab0ee8fa60b6bc22

Alkylpurine glycosylase D (AlkD) exhibits a unique base excision strategy. Instead of interacting directly with the lesion, the enzyme engages the non-lesion DNA strand. AlkD induces flipping of the alkylated and opposing base accompanied by DNA stack compression. Since this strategy leaves the alkylated base solvent exposed, the means to achieve enzymatic cleavage had remained unclear. We determined a minimum energy path for flipping out a 3-methyl adenine by AlkD and computed a potential of mean force along this path to delineate the energetics of base extrusion. We show that AlkD acts as a scaffold to stabilize three distinct DNA conformations, including the final extruded state. These states are almost equivalent in free energy and separated by low barriers. Thus, AlkD acts by sculpting the global DNA conformation to achieve lesion expulsion from DNA. N-glycosidic bond scission is then facilitated by a backbone phosphate group proximal to the alkylated base.

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