Molecular dynamics force probe simulations of antibody/antigen unbinding: entropic control and nonadditivity of unbinding forces.
ABSTRACT: Unbinding of a spin-labeled dinitrophenyl (DNP) hapten from the monoclonal antibody AN02 F(ab) fragment has been studied by force probe molecular dynamics (FPMD) simulations. In our nanosecond simulations, unbinding was enforced by pulling the hapten molecule out of the binding pocket. Detailed inspection of the FPMD trajectories revealed a large heterogeneity of enforced unbinding pathways and a correspondingly large flexibility of the binding pocket region, which exhibited induced fit motions. Principal component analyses were used to estimate the resulting entropic contribution of approximately 6 kcal/mol to the AN02/DNP-hapten bond. This large contribution may explain the surprisingly large effect on binding kinetics found for mutation sites that are not directly involved in binding. We propose that such "entropic control" optimizes the binding kinetics of antibodies. Additional FPMD simulations of two point mutants in the light chain, Y33F and I96K, provided further support for a large flexibility of the binding pocket. Unbinding forces were found to be unchanged for these two mutants. Structural analysis of the FPMD simulations suggests that, in contrast to free energies of unbinding, the effect of mutations on unbinding forces is generally nonadditive.
Project description:The binding sites of 5-HT3 and other Cys-loop receptors have been extensively studied, but there are no data on the entry and exit routes of ligands for these sites. Here we have used molecular dynamics simulations to predict the pathway for agonists and antagonists exiting from the 5-HT3 receptor binding site. The data suggest that the unbinding pathway follows a tunnel at the interface of two subunits, which is approximately 8 A long and terminates approximately 20 A above the membrane. The exit routes for an agonist (5-HT) and an antagonist (granisetron) were similar, with trajectories toward the membrane and outward from the ligand binding site. 5-HT appears to form many hydrogen bonds with residues in the unbinding pathway, and experiments show that mutating these residues significantly affects function. The location of the pathway is also supported by docking studies of granisetron, which show a potential binding site for granisetron on the unbinding route. We propose that leaving the binding pocket along this tunnel places the ligands close to the membrane and prevents their immediate reentry into the binding pocket. We anticipate similar exit pathways for other members of the Cys-loop receptor family.
Project description:We use a recently proposed method called Spectral Gap Optimization of Order Parameters (SGOOP) [P. Tiwary and B. J. Berne, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 113, 2839 (2016)], to determine an optimal 1-dimensional reaction coordinate (RC) for the unbinding of a bucky-ball from a pocket in explicit water. This RC is estimated as a linear combination of the multiple available order parameters that collectively can be used to distinguish the various stable states relevant for unbinding. We pay special attention to determining and quantifying the degree to which water molecules should be included in the RC. Using SGOOP with under-sampled biased simulations, we predict that water plays a distinct role in the reaction coordinate for unbinding in the case when the ligand is sterically constrained to move along an axis of symmetry. This prediction is validated through extensive calculations of the unbinding times through metadynamics and by comparison through detailed balance with unbiased molecular dynamics estimate of the binding time. However when the steric constraint is removed, we find that the role of water in the reaction coordinate diminishes. Here instead SGOOP identifies a good one-dimensional RC involving various motional degrees of freedom.
Project description:An 1-ns unbinding trajectory of retinol from the bovine serum retinol-binding protein has been obtained from molecular dynamics simulations. The behavior of water during ligand unbinding has never been studied in detail. I described a new method for defining a binding site, located the water molecules involved in the binding site, and examined their movements during unbinding. I found that there were only small changes in the binding site. During unbinding, the number of water molecules inside the binding site decreased, with some water molecules exhibiting movements similar in magnitude to bulk water, and there were rearrangements of the hydrogen bonds. This work represents the first detailed study of the behavior of water during an unbinding process.
Project description:Non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (NNRTIs), which bind to an allosteric site 10-15 Å from the polymerase active site, play a central role in anti-HIV chemotherapy. Though NNRTIs have been known for 30 years, the pathways by which they bind and unbind from HIV-RT have not been characterized. In crystal structures for complexes, three channels are found to extend from the NNRTI binding site to the exterior of the protein, while added mystery comes from the fact that the binding site is collapsed in the unliganded protein. To address this issue, metadynamics simulations have been performed to elucidate the unbinding of four NNRTIs from HIV-RT. A general and transferable collective variable defined by the distance between the center-of-mass (COM) of the binding pocket and COM of the ligand is used to follow the dynamics while minimizing the bias. The metadynamics also allows computation of the barriers to unbinding, which are compared with the observed potencies of the compounds in an antiviral assay.
Project description:Macromolecules tend to respond to applied forces in many different ways. Chemistry at high shear forces can be intriguing, with relatively soft bonds becoming very stiff in specific force-loading geometries. Largely used in bionanotechnology, an important case is the streptavidin (SA)/biotin interaction. Although SA's four subunits have the same affinity, we find that the forces required to break the SA/biotin bond depend strongly on the attachment geometry. With AFM-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS), we measured unbinding forces of biotin from different SA subunits to range from 100 to more than 400 pN. Using a wide-sampling approach, we carried out hundreds of all-atom steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations for the entire system, including molecular linkers. Our strategy revealed the molecular mechanism that causes a fourfold difference in mechanical stability: Certain force-loading geometries induce conformational changes in SA's binding pocket lowering the energy barrier, which biotin has to overcome to escape the pocket.
Project description:A key factor influencing a drug's efficacy is its residence time in the binding pocket of the host protein. Using atomistic computer simulation to predict this residence time and the associated dissociation process is a desirable but extremely difficult task due to the long timescales involved. This gets further complicated by the presence of biophysical factors such as steric and solvation effects. In this work, we perform molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the unbinding of a popular prototypical hydrophobic cavity-ligand system using a metadynamics-based approach that allows direct assessment of kinetic pathways and parameters. When constrained to move in an axial manner, the unbinding time is found to be on the order of 4,000 s. In accordance with previous studies, we find that the cavity must pass through a region of sharp wetting transition manifested by sudden and high fluctuations in solvent density. When we remove the steric constraints on ligand, the unbinding happens predominantly by an alternate pathway, where the unbinding becomes 20 times faster, and the sharp wetting transition instead becomes continuous. We validate the unbinding timescales from metadynamics through a Poisson analysis, and by comparison through detailed balance to binding timescale estimates from unbiased MD. This work demonstrates that enhanced sampling can be used to perform explicit solvent MD studies at timescales previously unattainable, to our knowledge, obtaining direct and reliable pictures of the underlying physiochemical factors including free energies and rate constants.
Project description:The spontaneous dissociation of six small ligands from the active site of FKBP (the FK506 binding protein) is investigated by explicit water molecular dynamics simulations and network analysis. The ligands have between four (dimethylsulphoxide) and eleven (5-diethylamino-2-pentanone) non-hydrogen atoms, and an affinity for FKBP ranging from 20 to 0.2 mM. The conformations of the FKBP/ligand complex saved along multiple trajectories (50 runs at 310 K for each ligand) are grouped according to a set of intermolecular distances into nodes of a network, and the direct transitions between them are the links. The network analysis reveals that the bound state consists of several subbasins, i.e., binding modes characterized by distinct intermolecular hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic contacts. The dissociation kinetics show a simple (i.e., single-exponential) time dependence because the unbinding barrier is much higher than the barriers between subbasins in the bound state. The unbinding transition state is made up of heterogeneous positions and orientations of the ligand in the FKBP active site, which correspond to multiple pathways of dissociation. For the six small ligands of FKBP, the weaker the binding affinity the closer to the bound state (along the intermolecular distance) are the transition state structures, which is a new manifestation of Hammond behavior. Experimental approaches to the study of fragment binding to proteins have limitations in temporal and spatial resolution. Our network analysis of the unbinding simulations of small inhibitors from an enzyme paints a clear picture of the free energy landscape (both thermodynamics and kinetics) of ligand unbinding.
Project description:The ability to predict the mechanisms and the associated rate constants of protein-ligand unbinding is of great practical importance in drug design. In this work we demonstrate how a recently introduced metadynamics-based approach allows exploration of the unbinding pathways, estimation of the rates, and determination of the rate-limiting steps in the paradigmatic case of the trypsin-benzamidine system. Protein, ligand, and solvent are described with full atomic resolution. Using metadynamics, multiple unbinding trajectories that start with the ligand in the crystallographic binding pose and end with the ligand in the fully solvated state are generated. The unbinding rate k off is computed from the mean residence time of the ligand. Using our previously computed binding affinity we also obtain the binding rate k on. Both rates are in agreement with reported experimental values. We uncover the complex pathways of unbinding trajectories and describe the critical rate-limiting steps with unprecedented detail. Our findings illuminate the role played by the coupling between subtle protein backbone fluctuations and the solvation by water molecules that enter the binding pocket and assist in the breaking of the shielded hydrogen bonds. We expect our approach to be useful in calculating rates for general protein-ligand systems and a valid support for drug design.
Project description:Receptor-ligand interactions are essential for biological function and their binding strength is commonly explained in terms of static lock-and-key models based on molecular complementarity. However, detailed information on the full unbinding pathway is often lacking due, in part, to the static nature of atomic structures and ensemble averaging inherent to bulk biophysics approaches. Here we combine molecular dynamics and high-speed force spectroscopy on the streptavidin-biotin complex to determine the binding strength and unbinding pathways over the widest dynamic range. Experiment and simulation show excellent agreement at overlapping velocities and provided evidence of the unbinding mechanisms. During unbinding, biotin crosses multiple energy barriers and visits various intermediate states far from the binding pocket, while streptavidin undergoes transient induced fits, all varying with loading rate. This multistate process slows down the transition to the unbound state and favors rebinding, thus explaining the long lifetime of the complex. We provide an atomistic, dynamic picture of the unbinding process, replacing a simple two-state picture with one that involves many routes to the lock and rate-dependent induced-fit motions for intermediates, which might be relevant for other receptor-ligand bonds.
Project description:Ion channel-toxin complexes are ideal systems for computational studies of protein-ligand interactions, because, in most cases, the channel axis provides a natural reaction coordinate for unbinding of a ligand and a wealth of physiological data is available to check the computational results. We use a recently determined structure of a potassium channel-charybdotoxin complex in molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the mechanism and energetics of unbinding. Pairs of residues on the channel protein and charybdotoxin that are involved in the binding are identified, and their behavior is traced during umbrella-sampling simulations as charybdotoxin is moved away from the binding site. The potential of mean force for the unbinding of charybdotoxin is constructed from the umbrella sampling simulations using the weighted histogram analysis method, and barriers observed are correlated with specific breaking of interactions and influx of water molecules into the binding site. Charybdotoxin is found to undergo conformational changes as a result of the reaction coordinate choice--a nontrivial decision for larger ligands--which we explore in detail, and for which we propose solutions. Agreement between the calculated and the experimental binding energies is obtained once the energetic consequences of these conformational changes are included in the calculations.