ABSTRACT: During cancer invasion, the binding of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) to its receptor (uPAR) on the surface of a cancer cell is considered a trigger for invasion. Here, we present a stable structure of the solvated complex formed between uPA and uPAR (uPA-uPAR) and investigate the specific interactions between uPA and uPAR by ab initio fragment molecular orbital (FMO) calculations. The result indicates that the electrostatic interactions between the charged amino acid residues existing in both uPA and uPAR make a large contribution to the binding between uPA and uPAR. In particular, Lys23, Lys46, Lys98 and Lys61 of uPA are found to have strong attractive interactions with uPAR. To elucidate the effect of these residues on the interactions between uPA and uPAR, we substituted each of them with the uncharged amino acid Leu and investigated the interactions between the mutated uPA and wild-type uPAR. The interaction energies indicate that Lys46 and Lys98, which bind uPA to the rim of the central ligand-binding cavity of uPAR, make greater contributions to the binding between uPA and uPAR than Lys23, which is positioned at the bottom of the ligand-binding cavity of uPAR. The effect of hydrating water molecules located between uPA and uPAR is also investigated to be significant for the specific interactions between uPA and uPAR. These results are expected to be informative for developing new peptide antagonists that block the binding of uPA to uPAR.
Journal of molecular graphics & modelling 08/2011; 29(8):975-84. · 2.17 Impact Factor