[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are compelling targets for drug discovery, and in a number of cases can be disrupted by small molecules. The main goal of this study is to examine the mechanism of binding site formation in the interface region of proteins that are PPI targets by comparing ligand-free and ligand-bound structures. To avoid any potential bias, we focus on ensembles of ligand-free protein conformations obtained by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques and deposited in the Protein Data Bank, rather than on ensembles specifically generated for this study. The measures used for structure comparison are based on detecting binding hot spots, i.e., protein regions that are major contributors to the binding free energy. The main tool of the analysis is computational solvent mapping, which explores the surface of proteins by docking a large number of small "probe" molecules. Although we consider conformational ensembles obtained by NMR techniques, the analysis is independent of the method used for generating the structures. Finding the energetically most important regions, mapping can identify binding site residues using ligand-free models based on NMR data. In addition, the method selects conformations that are similar to some peptide-bound or ligand-bound structure in terms of the properties of the binding site. This agrees with the conformational selection model of molecular recognition, which assumes such pre-existing conformations. The analysis also shows the maximum level of similarity between unbound and bound states that is achieved without any influence from a ligand. Further shift toward the bound structure assumes protein-peptide or protein-ligand interactions, either selecting higher energy conformations that are not part of the NMR ensemble, or leading to induced fit. Thus, forming the sites in protein-protein interfaces that bind peptides and can be targeted by small ligands always includes conformational selection, although other recognition mechanisms may also be involved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is critically involved in several physiological processes, including cancer progression and multiple immune phenomena. We, and others, have hypothesized that AHR modulators represent an important new class of targeted therapeutics. Here, ligand shape-based virtual modeling techniques were utilized to identify novel AHR ligands based on previously identified chemotypes. Four structurally unique compounds were identified. One lead compound, CB7993113, was further tested for its ability to block three AHR-dependent biological activities: triple negative breast cancer cell invasion or migration in vitro and AHR ligand-induced bone marrow toxicity in vivo. CB7993113 directly bound both murine and human AHR and inhibited PAH- and TCDD-induced reporter activity by 75% and 90% respectively. A novel homology model, comprehensive agonist and inhibitor titration experiments, and AHR localization studies were consistent with competitive antagonism and blockade of nuclear translocation as the primary mechanism of action. CB7993113 (IC50 3.3 x 10(-7) M) effectively reduced invasion of human breast cancer cells in 3D cultures and blocked tumor cell migration in 2D cultures without significantly affecting cell viability or proliferation. Finally, CB7993113 effectively inhibited the bone marrow ablative effects of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene in vivo, demonstrating drug absorption and tissue distribution leading to pharmacological efficacy. These experiments suggest that AHR antagonists such as CB7993113 may represent a new class of targeted therapeutics for immunomodulation and/or cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alternative flame retardant use has increased since the phase out of pentabromodiphenyl ethers. One alternative, Firemaster(®) 550 (FM550), induces obesity in rats. Triphenyl phosphate (TPP), a component of FM550, has a structure similar to organotins, which are obesogenic in rodents.
Environmental Health Perspectives 07/2014; · 7.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The potential utility of synthetic macrocycles (MCs) as drugs, particularly against low-druggability targets such as protein-protein interactions, has been widely discussed. There is little information, however, to guide the design of MCs for good target protein-binding activity or bioavailability. To address this knowledge gap, we analyze the binding modes of a representative set of MC-protein complexes. The results, combined with consideration of the physicochemical properties of approved macrocyclic drugs, allow us to propose specific guidelines for the design of synthetic MC libraries with structural and physicochemical features likely to favor strong binding to protein targets as well as good bioavailability. We additionally provide evidence that large, natural product-derived MCs can bind targets that are not druggable by conventional, drug-like compounds, supporting the notion that natural product-inspired synthetic MCs can expand the number of proteins that are druggable by synthetic small molecules.
Nature Chemical Biology 07/2014; · 12.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many proteins of widely differing functionality and structure are capable of binding heparin and heparan sulfate. Since crystallizing protein-heparin complexes for structure determination is generally difficult, computational docking can be a useful approach for understanding specific interactions. Previous studies used programs originally developed for docking small molecules to well-defined pockets, rather than for docking polysaccharides to highly charged shallow crevices that usually bind heparin. We have extended the program PIPER and the automated protein-protein docking server ClusPro to heparin docking. Using a molecular mechanics energy function for scoring and the fast Fourier transform correlation approach, the method generates and evaluates close to a billion poses of a heparin tetrasaccharide probe. The docked structures are clustered using pairwise root mean square deviations as the distance measure. It was shown that clustering of heparin molecules close to each other but having different orientations and selecting the clusters with the highest protein-ligand contacts reliably predicts the heparin binding site. In addition, the centers of the five most populated clusters include structures close to the native orientation of the heparin. These structures can provide starting points for further refinement by methods that account for flexibility such as molecular dynamics. The heparin docking method is available as an advanced option of the ClusPro server at http://cluspro.bu.edu/.
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 06/2014; · 4.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B (eIF2B), the guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the G-protein eIF2, is one of the main targets for regulation of protein synthesis. The eIF2B activity is inhibited in response to a wide range of stress factors and diseases, including viral infections, hypoxia, nutrient starvation, and heme deficiency, collectively known as the integrated stress response (ISR). eIF2B has five subunits: α through ε. The α, β, and δ subunits are homologous to each other and form the eIF2B regulatory subcomplex, which is believed to be a trimer consisting of monomeric α, β, and δ subunits. Here we use a combination of biophysical methods, site-directed mutagenesis and bioinformatics to show that the human eIF2Bα subunit is in fact a homodimer, at odds with the current trimeric model for the eIF2Bα/β/δ regulatory complex. eIF2Bα dimerizes using the same interface as that found in the homodimeric archaeal eIF2Bα/β/δ homolog aIF2B and related metabolic enzymes. We also present evidence that the eIF2Bβ/δ binding interface is similar to that in the eIF2Bα2 homodimer. Mutations at the predicted eIF2Bβ/δ dimer interface cause genetic neurological disorders in human. We propose that the eIF2B regulatory subcomplex is an α2β2δ2 hexamer, composed of one α2 homodimer and two βδ heterodimers. Our results offer novel insights into the architecture of eIF2B and its interactions with the G-protein eIF2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In screening a library of natural and synthetic products for eukaryotic translation modulators, we identified two natural products, isohymenialdisine and hymenialdisine, that exhibit stimulatory effects on translation. The characterization of these compounds led to the insight that mRNA used to program the translation extracts during high-throughput assay setup was leading to phosphorylation of eIF2α, a potent negative regulatory event that is mediated by one of four kinases. We identified double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) as the eIF2α kinase that was being activated by exogenously added mRNA template. Characterization of the mode of action of isohymenialdisine revealed that it directly acts on PKR by inhibiting autophosphorylation, perturbs the PKR–eIF2α phosphorylation axis, and can be modeled into the PKR ATP binding site. Our results identify a source of “false positives” for high-throughput screen campaigns using translation extracts, raising a cautionary note for this type of screen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An outstanding challenge has been to understand the mechanism whereby proteins associate. We report here the results of exhaustively sampling the conformational space in protein-protein association using a physics-based energy function. The agreement between experimental intermolecular paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE) data and the PRE profiles calculated from the docked structures shows that the method captures both specific and non-specific encounter complexes. To explore the energy landscape in the vicinity of the native structure, the nonlinear manifold describing the relative orientation of two solid bodies is projected onto a Euclidean space in which the shape of low energy regions is studied by principal component analysis. Results show that the energy surface is canyon-like, with a smooth funnel within a two dimensional subspace capturing over 75% of the total motion. Thus, proteins tend to associate along preferred pathways, similar to sliding of a protein along DNA in the process of protein-DNA recognition. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01370.001.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose:
We propose a new algorithm for side-chain repacking which poses the problem as a Maximum Weighted Independent Set (MWIS) problem on an appropriately constructed graph. The algorithm is fully distributed and can be executed on a large network of processing nodes requiring only local information and message-passing between neighboring nodes.
Our results on a benchmark set of enzyme-inhibitor protein complexes show that our predictions are close to the native structure. We find that the inclusion of the unbound side-chain structures in the set of most probable conformations significantly improves prediction quality. We also established that the use of our SCR algorithm produces superior docking results.
17th Annual International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB) 2013; 04/2013
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a comprehensive analysis of binding energy hot spots at the protein-protein interaction (PPI) interface between NF-κB Essential Modulator (NEMO) and IκB kinase subunit β (IKKβ), an interaction that is critical for NF-κB pathway signaling, using experimental alanine scanning mutagenesis and also the FTMap method for computational fragment screening. The experimental results confirm that the previously identified NBD region of IKKβ contains the highest concentration of hot spot residues, the strongest of which are W739, W741 and L742 (ΔΔG = 4.3, 3.5 and 3.2 kcal/mol, respectively). The region occupied by these residues defines a potentially druggable binding site on NEMO that extends for ~16 Å to additionally include the regions that bind IKKβ L737 and F734. NBD residues D738 and S740 are also important for binding but do not make direct contact with NEMO, instead likely acting to stabilize the active conformation of surrounding residues. We additionally found two previously unknown hot spot regions centered on IKKβ residues L708/V709 and L719/I723. The computational approach successfully identified all three hot spot regions on IKKβ, including the two that were previously unknown. Moreover, the method was able to accurately quantify the energetic importance of all hot spots residues involving direct contact with NEMO. The finding that a method based on evaluating potential ligand binding pockets can also quantitatively predict hot spot residues that project into those pockets illustrates the energetic complementarity between "pocket-forming" and "pocket occupying" hot spot residues, and further validates FTMap as a method for identifying potentially druggable sites at PPI interfaces.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 03/2013; · 10.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Computational solvent mapping finds binding hot spots, determines their druggability, and provides information for drug design. While mapping of a ligand-bound structure yields more accurate results, usually the apo structure serves as the starting point in design. The FTFlex algorithm, implemented as a server, can modify an apo structure to yield mapping results that are similar to those of the respective bound structure. Thus, FTFlex is an extension of our FTMap server, which only considers rigid structures. FTFlex identifies flexible residues within the binding site and determines alternative conformations using a rotamer library. In cases where the mapping results of the apo structure were in poor agreement with those of the bound structure, FTFlex was able to yield a modified apo structure, which lead to improved FTMap results. In cases where the mapping results of the apo and bound structures were in good agreement, no new structure was predicted. AVAILABILITY: FTFlex is freely available as a web-based server at http://ftflex.bu.edu/. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary Material is available at Bioinformatics online. CONTACT: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our work is motivated by energy minimization of biological macromolecules, an essential step in computational docking. By allowing some ligand flexibility, we generalize a recently introduced novel representation of rigid body minimization as an optimization on the [Formula: see text] manifold, rather than on the commonly used Special Euclidean group SE(3). We show that the resulting flexible docking can also be formulated as an optimization on a Lie group that is the direct product of simpler Lie groups for which geodesics and exponential maps can be easily obtained. Our computational results for a local optimization algorithm developed based on this formulation show that it is about an order of magnitude faster than the state-of-the-art local minimization algorithms for computational protein-small molecule docking.
Proceedings of the ... IEEE Conference on Decision & Control / IEEE Control Systems Society. IEEE Conference on Decision & Control. 01/2013;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Side-chain positioning (SCP) is an important component of computational protein docking methods. Existing SCP methods and available software have been designed for protein folding applications where side-chain positioning is also important. As a result they do not take into account significant special structure that SCP for docking exhibits. We propose a new algorithm which poses SCP as a Maximum Weighted Independent Set (MWIS) problem on an appropriately constructed graph. We develop an approximate algorithm which solves a relaxation of the MWIS and then rounds the solution to obtain a high-quality feasible solution to the problem. The algorithm is fully distributed and can be executed on a large network of processing nodes requiring only local information and message-passing between neighboring nodes. Motivated by the special structure in docking, we establish optimality guarantees for a certain class of graphs. Our results on a benchmark set of enzyme-inhibitor protein complexes show that our predictions are close to the native structure and are comparable to the ones obtained by a state-of-the-art method. The results are substantially improved if rotamers from unbound protein structures are included in the search. We also establish that the use of our SCP algorithm substantially improves docking results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our work is motivated by energy minimization in the space of rigid affine transformations of macromolecules, an essential step in computational protein-protein docking. We introduce a novel representation of rigid body motion that leads to a natural formulation of the energy minimization problem as an optimization on the [Formula: see text] manifold, rather than the commonly used SE(3). The new representation avoids the complications associated with optimization on the SE(3) manifold and provides additional flexibilities for optimization not available in that formulation. The approach is applicable to general rigid body minimization problems. Our computational results for a local optimization algorithm developed based on the new approach show that it is about an order of magnitude faster than a state of art local minimization algorithms for computational protein-protein docking.
Proceedings of the ... IEEE Conference on Decision & Control / IEEE Control Systems Society. IEEE Conference on Decision & Control. 12/2012;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virtually all docking methods include some local continuous minimization of an energy/scoring function in order to remove steric clashes and obtain more reliable energy values. In this paper, we describe an efficient rigid-body optimization algorithm that, compared to the most widely used algorithms, converges approximately an order of magnitude faster to conformations with equal or slightly lower energy. The space of rigid body transformations is a nonlinear manifold, namely, a space which locally resembles a Euclidean space. We use a canonical parametrization of the manifold, called the exponential parametrization, to map the Euclidean tangent space of the manifold onto the manifold itself. Thus, we locally transform the rigid body optimization to an optimization over a Euclidean space where basic optimization algorithms are applicable. Compared to commonly used methods, this formulation substantially reduces the dimension of the search space. As a result, it requires far fewer costly function and gradient evaluations and leads to a more efficient algorithm. We have selected the LBFGS quasi-Newton method for local optimization since it uses only gradient information to obtain second order information about the energy function and avoids the far more costly direct Hessian evaluations. Two applications, one in protein-protein docking, and the other in protein-small molecular interactions, as part of macromolecular docking protocols are presented. The code is available to the community under open source license, and with minimal effort can be incorporated into any molecular modeling package.
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 11/2012; 8(11):4374-4380. · 5.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An effective docking algorithm for antibody-protein antigen complex prediction is an important first step toward design of biologics and vaccines. We have recently developed a new class of knowledge-based interaction potentials called Decoys as the Reference State (DARS) and incorporated DARS into the docking program PIPER based on the fast Fourier transform correlation approach. Although PIPER was the best performer in the latest rounds of the CAPRI protein docking experiment, it is much less accurate for docking antibody-protein antigen pairs than other types of complexes, in spite of incorporating sequence-based information on the location of the paratope. Analysis of antibody-protein antigen complexes has revealed an inherent asymmetry within these interfaces. Specifically, phenylalanine, tryptophan and tyrosine residues highly populate the paratope of the antibody but not the epitope of the antigen.
Since this asymmetry cannot be adequately modeled using a symmetric pairwise potential, we have removed the usual assumption of symmetry. Interaction statistics were extracted from antibody-protein complexes under the assumption that a particular atom on the antibody is different from the same atom on the antigen protein. The use of the new potential significantly improves the performance of docking for antibody-protein antigen complexes, even without any sequence information on the location of the paratope. We note that the asymmetric potential captures the effects of the multi-body interactions inherent to the complex environment in the antibody-protein antigen interface.
The method is implemented in the ClusPro protein docking server, available at http://cluspro.bu.edu.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.