Conformational selection in silico: Loop latching motions and ligand binding in enzymes

Authors

  • Sergio Wong,

    1. Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158-2517
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  • Matthew P. Jacobson

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158-2517
    • Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158-2517
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Abstract

Ligand binding frequently induces significant conformational changes in a protein receptor. Understanding and predicting such conformational changes represent an important challenge for computational biology, including applications to structure-based drug design. We describe an approach to this problem based on the assumption that the holo state is at least transiently populated in the absence of a ligand; this hypothesis has been referred to as “conformational selection.” Here, we apply a method that tests this hypothesis on a challenging class of ligand-induced conformational changes, which we refer to as loop latching: the closing of a loop around an active site that sequesters the ligand from solvent. The method uses a combination of replica exchange molecular dynamics and a loop prediction algorithm to generate low-energy loop structures, and docking to select the conformation appropriate for binding a particular ligand. On a test set of six proteins, it yields loop structures including hololike conformations, generally below 2 Å RMSD from the liganded structure, for loops that span up to 15 residues. Docking serves as a stringent test of the predictions. In five of the six cases, the predicted loop conformations improve the ranks of cognate ligands relative to using the apo structure, although the results remain, in most cases, significantly worse than using a holo structure. The poses of the cognate ligands are correct in four of the six test cases, while they are correct for five of the six using a holo structure. Proteins 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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