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Keywords:

  • ABC transporters;
  • glycoproteins;
  • protein structures;
  • rhodamine;
  • structure–activity relationships

Abstract

The primary aim of this work was to analyze the contacts between residues in the nucleotide binding domains (NBDs) and at the interface between the transmembrane domains (TMDs) and the NBDs in the inward-open homology model of human P-glycoprotein (P-gp). The analysis revealed communication nets through hydrogen bonding in the NBD and at the NBD–TMD interface of each half involving residues from the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) motifs and the coupling helices of the intracellular loops. Similar networks have been identified in P-gp conformations generated by molecular dynamics simulation. Differences have been recorded in the networking between both halves of P-gp. Many of the residue contacts have also been observed in the X-ray crystal structures of other ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters, which confirms their validity. Next, possible binding pockets involving residues of importance for the TMD–NBD communication were identified. By studying these pockets, binding sites were suggested for rhodamine 123 (R-site) and prazosin (regulatory site) at the NBD–TMD interface that agreed with the experimental data on their location. Additionally, one more R-site in the protein cavity was proposed, in accordance with the available biochemical data. Together with the previously suggested Hoechst 33342 site (H-site), all sites were interpreted with respect to their effects on the protein ATPase activity, in correspondence with the experimental observations. Several residues involved in key contacts in the P-gp NBDs were proposed for further targeted mutagenesis experiments.