Understanding the molecular basis of MK2-p38α signaling complex assembly: insights into protein-protein interaction by molecular dynamics and free energy studies.

State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry and Department of Chemistry, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.
Molecular BioSystems (Impact Factor: 3.35). 05/2012; 8(8):2106-18. DOI: 10.1039/c2mb25042j
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The formation of a p38 MAPK and MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) signaling complex is physiologically relevant to cellular responses such as the proinflammatory cytokine production. The interaction between p38α isoform and MK2 is of great importance for this signaling. In this study, molecular dynamics simulation and binding free energy calculation were performed on the MK2-p38α signaling complex to investigate the protein-protein interaction between the two proteins. Dynamic domain motion analyses were performed to analyze the conformational changes between the unbound and bound states of proteins during the interaction. The activation loop, αF-I helices, and loops among α helices in the C-lobe of MK2 are found to be highly flexible and exhibit significant changes upon p38α binding. The results also show that after the binding of p38α, the N- and C-terminal domains of MK2 display an opening and twisting motion centered on the activation loop. The molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann and generalized-Born surface area (MM-PB/GBSA) methods were used to calculate binding free energies between MK2 and p38α. The analysis of the components of binding free energy calculation indicates that the van der Waals interaction and the nonpolar solvation energy provide the driving force for the binding process, while the electrostatic interaction contributes critically to the specificity, rather than to MK2-p38α binding affinity. The contribution of each residue at the interaction interface to the binding affinity of MK2 with p38α was also analyzed by free energy decomposition. Several important residues responsible for the protein-protein interaction were also identified.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: By using different evaluation strategies, we systemically evaluated the performance of Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born Surface Area (MM/GBSA) and Molecular Mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area (MM/PBSA) methodologies based on more than 1800 protein-ligand crystal structures in the PDBbind database. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) for the one-protein-family/one-binding-ligand case which represents the unbiased protein-ligand complex sampling, both MM/GBSA and MM/PBSA methodologies achieve approximately equal accuracies at the interior dielectric constant of 4 (with rp = 0.408 ± 0.006 of MM/GBSA and rp = 0.388 ± 0.006 of MM/PBSA based on the minimized structures); while for the total dataset (1864 crystal structures), the overall best Pearson correlation coefficient (rp = 0.579 ± 0.002) based on MM/GBSA is better than that of MM/PBSA (rp = 0.491 ± 0.003), indicating that biased sampling may significantly affect the accuracy of the predicted result (some protein families contain too many instances and can bias the overall predicted accuracy). Therefore, family based classification is needed to evaluate the two methodologies; (2) the prediction accuracies of MM/GBSA and MM/PBSA for different protein families are quite different with rp ranging from 0 to 0.9, whereas the correlation and ranking scores (an averaged rp/rs over a list of protein folds and also representing the unbiased sampling) given by MM/PBSA (rp-score = 0.506 ± 0.050 and rs-score = 0.481 ± 0.052) are comparable to those given by MM/GBSA (rp-score = 0.516 ± 0.047 and rs-score = 0.463 ± 0.047) at the fold family level; (3) for the overall prediction accuracies, molecular dynamics (MD) simulation may not be quite necessary for MM/GBSA (rp-minimized = 0.579 ± 0.002 and rp-1ns = 0.564 ± 0.002), but is needed for MM/PBSA (rp-minimized = 0.412 ± 0.003 and rp-1ns = 0.491 ± 0.003). However, for the individual systems, whether to use MD simulation is depended. (4) both MM/GBSA and MM/PBSA may be unable to give successful predictions for the ligands with high formal charges, with the Pearson correlation coefficient ranging from 0.621 ± 0.003 (neutral ligands) to 0.125 ± 0.142 (ligands with a formal charge of 5). Therefore, it can be summarized that, although MM/GBSA and MM/PBSA perform similarly in the unbiased dataset, for the currently available crystal structures in the PDBbind database, compared with MM/GBSA, which may be used in multi-target comparisons, MM/PBSA is more sensitive to the investigated systems, and may be more suitable for individual-target-level binding free energy ranking. This study may provide useful guidance for the post-processing of docking based studies.
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 07/2014; 16(31):16719-16729. · 4.20 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 integrase (IN) is essential for the integration of viral DNA into the host genome and an attractive therapeutic target for developing antiretroviral inhibitors. LEDGINs are a class of allosteric inhibitors targeting LEDGF/p75 binding site of HIV-1 IN. Yet, the detailed binding mode and allosteric inhibition mechanism of LEDGINs to HIV-1 IN is only partially understood, which hinders the structure-based design of more potent anti-HIV agents. A molecular modeling study combining molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation, and binding free energy calculation were performed to investigate the interaction details of HIV-1 IN catalytic core domain (CCD) with two recently discovered LEDGINs BI-1001 and CX14442, as well as the LEDGF/p75 protein. Simulation results demonstrated the hydrophobic domain of BI-1001 and CX14442 engages one subunit of HIV-1 IN CCD dimer through hydrophobic interactions, and the hydrophilic group forms hydrogen bonds with HIV-1 IN CCD residues from other subunit. CX14442 has a larger tert-butyl group than the methyl of BI-1001, and forms better interactions with the highly hydrophobic binding pocket of HIV-1 IN CCD dimer interface, which can explain the stronger affinity of CX14442 than BI-1001. Analysis of the binding mode of LEDGF/p75 with HIV-1 IN CCD reveals that the LEDGF/p75 integrase binding domain residues Ile365, Asp366, Phe406 and Val408 have significant contributions to the binding of the LEDGF/p75 to HIV1-IN. Remarkably, we found that binding of BI-1001 and CX14442 to HIV-1 IN CCD induced the structural rearrangements of the 140 s loop and oration displacements of the side chains of the three conserved catalytic residues Asp64, Asp116, and Glu152 located at the active site. These results we obtained will be valuable not only for understanding the allosteric inhibition mechanism of LEDGINs but also for the rational design of allosteric inhibitors of HIV-1 IN targeting LEDGF/p75 binding site.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e90799. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein kinase CK2, also known as casein kinase II, is related to various cellular events and is a potential target for numerous cancers. In this study, we attempted to gain more insight into the inhibition process of CK2 by a series of CX-4945 derivatives through an integrated computational study that combines molecular docking, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and binding free energy calculations. Based on the binding poses predicted by molecular docking, the MD simulations were performed to explore the dynamic binding processes for ten selected inhibitors. Then, both Molecular Mechanics/Poisson Boltzmann Surface Area (MM/PBSA) and Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born Surface Area (MM/GBSA) techniques were employed to predict the binding affinities of the studied systems. The predicted binding energies of the selected inhibitors correlate well with their experimental activities (r(2) = 0.78). The van der Waals term is the most favorable component for the total energies. The free energy decomposition on a per residue basis reveals that the residue K68 is essential for the electrostatic interactions between CK2 and the studied inhibitors and numerous residues, including L45, V53, V66, F113, M163 and I174, play critical roles in forming van der Waals interactions with the inhibitors. Finally, a number of new derivatives were designed and the binding affinity and the predicted binding free energies of each designed molecule were obtained on the basis of molecular docking and MM/PBSA. It is expected that our research will benefit the future rational design of novel and potent inhibitors of CK2.
    Molecular BioSystems 03/2014; · 3.35 Impact Factor