[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous biomolecular interactions involve unstructured protein regions, but how to exploit such interactions to enhance the affinity of a lead molecule in the context of rational drug design remains uncertain. Here clarification was sought for cases where interactions of different ligands with the same disordered protein region yield qualitatively different results. Specifically, conformational ensembles for the disordered lid region of the N-terminal domain of the oncoprotein MDM2 in the presence of different ligands were computed by means of a novel combination of accelerated molecular dynamics, umbrella sampling, and variational free energy profile methodologies. The resulting conformational ensembles for MDM2, free and bound to p53 TAD (17-29) peptide identify lid states compatible with previous NMR measurements. Remarkably, the MDM2 lid region is shown to adopt distinct conformational states in the presence of different small-molecule ligands. Detailed analyses of small-molecule bound ensembles reveal that the ca. 25-fold affinity improvement of the piperidinone family of inhibitors for MDM2 constructs that include the full lid correlates with interactions between ligand hydrophobic groups and the C-terminal lid region that is already partially ordered in apo MDM2. By contrast, Nutlin or benzodiazepinedione inhibitors, that bind with similar affinity to full lid and lid-truncated MDM2 constructs, interact additionally through their solubilizing groups with N-terminal lid residues that are more disordered in apo MDM2.
Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · PLoS Computational Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chagas' disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a lethal, chronic disease that currently affects more than 10 million people in Central and South America. The trans-sialidase from T.cruzi (TcTS) is a crucial enzyme for the survival of this parasite: sialic acids from the host are transferred to the cell surface glycoproteins of the trypanosome, thereby evading the host's immune system. On the other hand, the sialidase of Trypanosoma rangeli (TrSA), which shares 70% sequence identity with TcTS, is a strict hydrolase and shows no trans-sialidase activity. Therefore, TcTS and TrSA represent an excellent framework to understand how different catalytic activities can be achieved with extremely similar structures. By means of combined quantum mechanics-molecular mechanics (QM/MM, SCC-DFTB/Amberff99SB) calculations and umbrella sampling simulations, we investigated the hydrolysis mechanisms of TcTS and TrSA and computed the free energy profiles of these reactions. The results, together with our previous computational investigations, are able to explain the catalytic mechanism of sialidases and describe how subtle differences in the active site make TrSA a strict hydrolase and TcTS a more efficient trans-sialidase.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · The Journal of Physical Chemistry B
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitomycin C (MMC) is a potent antitumour agent that forms a covalent bond with the 2-amino group of selected guanines in the minor groove of double-stranded DNA following intracellular reduction of its quinone ring and opening of its aziridine moiety. At some 5'-CG-3' (CpG) steps the resulting monofunctional adduct can evolve towards a more deleterious bifunctional lesion, which is known as an interstrand crosslink (ICL). MMC reactivity is enhanced when the cytosine bases are methylated (5 MC) and decreased when they are replaced with 5-F-cytosine (5FC) whereas the stereochemical preference of alkylation changes upon decarbamoylation. We have studied three duplex oligonucleotides of general formula d(CGATAAXGCTAACG) in which X stands for C, 5MC or 5FC. Using a combination of molecular dynamics simulations in aqueous solution, quantum mechanics and continuum electrostatics, we have been able to (i) obtain a large series of snapshots that facilitate an understanding in atomic detail of the distinct stereochemistry of monoadduct and ICL formation by MMC and its decarbamoylated analogue, (ii) provide an explanation for the altered reactivity of MMC towards DNA molecules containing 5MC or 5FC, and (iii) show the distinct accommodation in the DNA minor groove of the different covalent modifications, particularly the most cytotoxic C1α and C1β ICLs.
No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using information from wild-type and mutant Vibrio vulnificus nuclease (Vvn) and I-PpoI homing endonuclease co-crystallized with different oligodeoxynucleotides, we have built the complex of Vvn with a DNA octamer and carried out a series of simulations to dissect the catalytic mechanism of this metallonuclease in a stepwise fashion. The distinct roles played in the reaction by individual active site residues, the metal cation and water molecules have been clarified by using a combination of classical molecular dynamics simulations and quantum mechanical calculations. Our results strongly support the most parsimonious catalytic mechanism, namely one in which a single water molecule from bulk solvent is used to cleave the phosphodiester bond and protonate the 3'-hydroxylate leaving group.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trabectedin and Zalypsis are two potent anticancer tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids that can form a covalent bond with the amino group of a guanine in selected triplets of DNA duplexes and eventually give rise to double-strand breaks. Using well-defined in vitro and in vivo assays, we show that the resulting DNA adducts stimulate, in a concentration-dependent manner, cleavage by the XPF/ERCC1 nuclease on the strand opposite to that bonded by the drug. They also inhibit RNA synthesis by: (1) preventing binding of transcription factors like Sp1 to DNA, and (2) arresting elongating RNA polymerase II at the same nucleotide position regardless of the strand they are located on. Structural models provide a rationale for these findings and highlight the similarity between this type of DNA modification and an interstrand crosslink.
Preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Chemistry & biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The difference in melting temperature of a double-stranded (ds) DNA molecule in the absence and presence of bound ligands
can provide experimental information about the stabilization brought about by ligand binding. By simulating the dynamic behaviour
of a duplex of sequence 5′-d(TAATAACGGATTATT)·5′-d(AATAATCCGTTATTA) in 0.1 M NaCl aqueous solution at 400 K, we have characterized
in atomic detail its complete thermal denaturation profile in <200 ns. A striking asymmetry was observed on both sides of
the central CGG triplet and the strand separation process was shown to be strongly affected by bonding in the minor groove
of the prototypical interstrand crosslinker mitomycin C or the monofunctional tetrahydroisoquinolines trabectedin (Yondelis®), Zalypsis® and PM01183®. Progressive helix unzipping was clearly interspersed with some reannealing events, which were most noticeable
in the oligonucleotides containing the monoadducts, which maintained an average of 6 bp in the central region at the end of
the simulations. These significant differences attest to the demonstrated ability of these drugs to stabilize dsDNA, stall
replication and transcription forks, and recruit DNA repair proteins. This stabilization, quantified here in terms of undisrupted
base pairs, supports the view that these monoadducts can functionally mimic a DNA interstrand crosslink.
Preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PM01183 is a new synthetic tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloid that is currently in phase I clinical development for the treatment of solid tumours. In this study we have characterized the interactions of PM01183 with selected DNA molecules of defined sequence and its in vitro and in vivo cytotoxicity.
DNA binding characteristics of PM01183 were studied using electrophoretic mobility shift assays, fluorescence-based melting kinetic experiments and computational modelling methods. Its mechanism of action was investigated using flow cytometry, Western blot analysis and fluorescent microscopy. In vitro anti-tumour activity was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and the in vivo activity utilized several human cancer models.
Electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated that PM01183 bound to DNA. Fluorescence-based thermal denaturation experiments showed that the most favourable DNA triplets providing a central guanine for covalent adduct formation are AGC, CGG, AGG and TGG. These binding preferences could be rationalized using molecular modelling. PM01183-DNA adducts in living cells give rise to double-strand breaks, triggering S-phase accumulation and apoptosis. The potent cytotoxic activity of PM01183 was ascertained in a 23-cell line panel with a mean GI(50) value of 2.7 nM. In four murine xenograft models of human cancer, PM01183 inhibited tumour growth significantly with no weight loss of treated animals.
PM01183 is shown to bind to selected DNA sequences and promoted apoptosis by inducing double-strand breaks at nanomolar concentrations. The potent anti-tumour activity of PM01183 in several murine models of human cancer supports its development as a novel anti-neoplastic agent.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · British Journal of Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zalypsis is a new synthetic alkaloid tetrahydroisoquinoline antibiotic that has a reactive carbinolamine group. This functionality can lead to the formation of a covalent bond with the amino group of selected guanines in the DNA double helix, both in the absence and in the presence of methylated cytosines. The resulting complex is additionally stabilized by the establishment of one or more hydrogen bonds with adjacent nucleotides in the opposite strand as well as by van der Waals interactions within the minor groove. Fluorescence-based thermal denaturation experiments demonstrated that the most favorable DNA triplets for covalent adduct formation are AGG, GGC, AGC, CGG and TGG, and these preferences could be rationalized on the basis of molecular modeling results. Zalypsis-DNA adducts eventually give rise to double-strand breaks, triggering S-phase accumulation and apoptotic cell death. The potent cytotoxic activity of Zalypsis was ascertained in a 24 cell line panel. The mean IC(50) value was 7nM and leukemia and stomach tumor cell lines were amongst the most sensitive. Zalypsis administration in four murine xenograft models of human cancer demonstrates significant tumor growth inhibition that is highest in the Hs746t gastric cancer cell line with no weight loss of treated animals. Taken together, these results indicate that the potent antitumor activity of Zalypsis supports its current development in the clinic as an anticancer agent.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Biochemical pharmacology