Dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum enoyl-ACP reductase and implications on drug discovery

Authors

  • Steffen Lindert,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
    2. NSF Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, La Jolla, California
    • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0365, La Jolla, CA 92093-0365
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  • J. Andrew McCammon

    1. Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
    2. NSF Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, La Jolla, California
    3. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California
    4. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, National Biomedical Computation Resource, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
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Abstract

Enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (ENR) is a crucial enzyme in the type II fatty acid synthesis pathway of many pathogens such as Plasmodium falciparum, the etiological agent of the most severe form of malaria. Because of its essential function of fatty acid double bond reduction and the absence of a human homologue, PfENR is an interesting drug target. Although extensive knowledge of the protein structure has been gathered over the last decade, comparatively little remains known about the dynamics of this crucial enzyme. Here, we perform extensive molecular dynamics simulations of tetrameric PfENR in different states of cofactor and ligand binding, and with a variety of different ligands bound. A pocket-volume analysis is also performed, and virtual screening is used to identify potential druggable hotspots. The implications of the results for future drug-discovery projects are discussed.

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