Robust identification of binding hot spots using continuum electrostatics: application to hen egg-white lysozyme.
ABSTRACT: Binding hot spots, protein regions with high binding affinity, can be identified by using X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy to screen libraries of small organic molecules that tend to cluster at such hot spots. FTMap, a direct computational analogue of the experimental screening approaches, uses 16 different probe molecules for global sampling of the surface of a target protein on a dense grid and evaluates the energy of interaction using an empirical energy function that includes a continuum electrostatic term. Energy evaluation is based on the fast Fourier transform correlation approach, which allows for the sampling of billions of probe positions. The grid sampling is followed by off-grid minimization that uses a more detailed energy expression with a continuum electrostatics term. FTMap identifies the hot spots as consensus clusters formed by overlapping clusters of several probes. The hot spots are ranked on the basis of the number of probe clusters, which predicts their binding propensity. We applied FTMap to nine structures of hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL), whose hot spots have been extensively studied by both experimental and computational methods. FTMap found the primary hot spot in site C of all nine structures, in spite of conformational differences. In addition, secondary hot spots in sites B and D that are known to be important for the binding of polysaccharide substrates were found. The predicted probe-protein interactions agree well with those seen in the complexes of HEWL with various ligands and also agree with an NMR-based study of HEWL in aqueous solutions of eight organic solvents. We argue that FTMap provides more complete information on the HEWL binding site than previous computational methods and yields fewer false-positive binding locations than the X-ray structures of HEWL from crystals soaked in organic solvents.
Project description:FTMap is a computational mapping server that identifies binding hot spots of macromolecules-i.e., regions of the surface with major contributions to the ligand-binding free energy. To use FTMap, users submit a protein, DNA or RNA structure in PDB (Protein Data Bank) format. FTMap samples billions of positions of small organic molecules used as probes, and it scores the probe poses using a detailed energy expression. Regions that bind clusters of multiple probe types identify the binding hot spots in good agreement with experimental data. FTMap serves as the basis for other servers, namely FTSite, which is used to predict ligand-binding sites, FTFlex, which is used to account for side chain flexibility, FTMap/param, used to parameterize additional probes and FTDyn, for mapping ensembles of protein structures. Applications include determining the druggability of proteins, identifying ligand moieties that are most important for binding, finding the most bound-like conformation in ensembles of unliganded protein structures and providing input for fragment-based drug design. FTMap is more accurate than classical mapping methods such as GRID and MCSS, and it is much faster than the more-recent approaches to protein mapping based on mixed molecular dynamics. By using 16 probe molecules, the FTMap server finds the hot spots of an average-size protein in <1 h. As FTFlex performs mapping for all low-energy conformers of side chains in the binding site, its completion time is proportionately longer.
Project description:Binding hot spots, protein sites with high-binding affinity, can be identified using X-ray crystallography or NMR by screening libraries of small organic molecules that tend to cluster at such regions. FTMAP, a direct computational analog of the experimental screening approaches, globally samples the surface of a target protein using small organic molecules as probes, finds favorable positions, clusters the conformations and ranks the clusters on the basis of the average energy. The regions that bind several probe clusters predict the binding hot spots, in good agreement with experimental results. Small molecules discovered by fragment-based approaches to drug design also bind at the hot spot regions. To identify such molecules and their most likely bound positions, we extend the functionality of FTMAP (http://ftmap.bu.edu/param) to accept any small molecule as an additional probe. In its updated form, FTMAP identifies the hot spots based on a standard set of probes, and for each additional probe shows representative structures of nearby low energy clusters. This approach helps to predict bound poses of the user-selected molecules, detects if a compound is not likely to bind in the hot spot region, and provides input for the design of larger ligands.
Project description:Fragment-based drug design (FBDD) starts with finding fragment-sized compounds that are highly ligand efficient and can serve as a core moiety for developing high-affinity leads. Although the core-bound structure of a protein facilitates the construction of leads, effective design is far from straightforward. We show that protein mapping, a computational method developed to find binding hot spots and implemented as the FTMap server, provides information that complements the fragment screening results and can drive the evolution of core fragments into larger leads with a minimal loss or, in some cases, even a gain in ligand efficiency. The method places small molecular probes, the size of organic solvents, on a dense grid around the protein and identifies the hot spots as consensus clusters formed by clusters of several probes. The hot spots are ranked based on the number of probe clusters, which predicts the binding propensity of the subsites and hence their importance for drug design. Accordingly, with a single exception the main hot spot identified by FTMap binds the core compound found by fragment screening. The most useful information is provided by the neighboring secondary hot spots, indicating the regions where the core can be extended to increase its affinity. To quantify this information, we calculate the density of probes from mapping, which describes the binding propensity at each point, and show that the change in the correlation between a ligand position and the probe density upon extending or repositioning the core moiety predicts the expected change in ligand efficiency.
Project description:The binding sites of proteins generally contain smaller regions that provide major contributions to the binding free energy and hence are the prime targets in drug design. Screening libraries of fragment-sized compounds by NMR or X-ray crystallography demonstrates that such 'hot spot' regions bind a large variety of small organic molecules, and that a relatively high 'hit rate' is predictive of target sites that are likely to bind drug-like ligands with high affinity. Our goal is to determine the 'hot spots' computationally rather than experimentally.We have developed the FTMAP algorithm that performs global search of the entire protein surface for regions that bind a number of small organic probe molecules. The search is based on the extremely efficient fast Fourier transform (FFT) correlation approach which can sample billions of probe positions on dense translational and rotational grids, but can use only sums of correlation functions for scoring and hence is generally restricted to very simple energy expressions. The novelty of FTMAP is that we were able to incorporate and represent on grids a detailed energy expression, resulting in a very accurate identification of low-energy probe clusters. Overlapping clusters of different probes are defined as consensus sites (CSs). We show that the largest CS is generally located at the most important subsite of the protein binding site, and the nearby smaller CSs identify other important subsites. Mapping results are presented for elastase whose structure has been solved in aqueous solutions of eight organic solvents, and we show that FTMAP provides very similar information. The second application is to renin, a long-standing pharmaceutical target for the treatment of hypertension, and we show that the major CSs trace out the shape of the first approved renin inhibitor, aliskiren.FTMAP is available as a server at http://ftmap.bu.edu/.
Project description:The identification of hot spots, i.e., binding regions that contribute substantially to the free energy of ligand binding, is a critical step for structure-based drug design. Here we present the application of two fragment-based methods to the detection of hot spots for DJ-1 and glucocerebrosidase (GCase), targets for the development of therapeutics for Parkinson's and Gaucher's diseases, respectively. While the structures of these two proteins are known, binding information is lacking. In this study we employ the experimental multiple solvent crystal structures (MSCS) method and computational fragment mapping (FTMap) to identify regions suitable for the development of pharmacological chaperones for DJ-1 and GCase. Comparison of data derived via MSCS and FTMap also shows that FTMap, a computational method for the identification of fragment binding hot spots, is an accurate and robust alternative to the performance of expensive and difficult crystallographic experiments.
Project description:G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key cellular signaling proteins and have been targeted by approximately 30-40% of marketed drugs for treating many human diseases including cancer and heart failure. Recently, we directly observed activation of the M2 muscarinic receptor through long-timescale accelerated molecular dynamics (aMD) simulation, which revealed distinct inactive, intermediate and active conformers of the receptor. Here, FTMAP is applied to search for 'hot spots' in these activation-associated conformers using a library of 16 organic probe molecules that represent fragments of potential drugs. Seven allosteric (non-orthosteric) binding sites are identified in the M2 receptor through the FTMAP analysis. These sites are distributed in the solvent-exposed extracellular and intracellular mouth regions, as well as the lipid-exposed pockets formed by the transmembrane ? helices TM3-TM4, TM5-TM6 and TM7-TM1/TM2. They serve as promising target sites for designing novel allosteric modulators as receptor-selective drugs.
Project description:Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1) is an essential base excision repair enzyme that is upregulated in a number of cancers, contributes to resistance of tumors treated with DNA-alkylating or -oxidizing agents, and has recently been identified as an important therapeutic target. In this work, we identified hot spots for binding of small organic molecules experimentally in high resolution crystal structures of APE1 and computationally through the use of FTMAP analysis ( http://ftmap.bu.edu/ ). Guided by these hot spots, a library of drug-like macrocycles was docked and then screened for inhibition of APE1 endonuclease activity. In an iterative process, hot-spot-guided docking, characterization of inhibition of APE1 endonuclease, and cytotoxicity of cancer cells were used to design next generation macrocycles. To assess target selectivity in cells, selected macrocycles were analyzed for modulation of DNA damage. Taken together, our studies suggest that macrocycles represent a promising class of compounds for inhibition of APE1 in cancer cells.
Project description:The fast Fourier transform (FFT) sampling algorithm has been used with success in application to protein-protein docking and for protein mapping, the latter docking a variety of small organic molecules for the identification of binding hot spots on the target protein. Here we explore the local rather than global usage of the FFT sampling approach in docking applications. If the global FFT based search yields a near-native cluster of docked structures for a protein complex, then focused resampling of the cluster generally leads to a substantial increase in the number of conformations close to the native structure. In protein mapping, focused resampling of the selected hot spot regions generally reveals further hot spots that, while not as strong as the primary hot spots, also contribute to ligand binding. The detection of additional ligand binding regions is shown by the improved overlap between hot spots and bound ligands.
Project description:The inhibition of kinases has been pursued by the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years. While the locations of the sites that bind type II and III inhibitors at or near the adenosine 5'-triphosphate binding sites are well defined, the literature describes 10 different regions that were reported as regulatory hot spots in some kinases and thus are potential target sites for type IV inhibitors. Kinase Atlas is a systematic collection of binding hot spots located at the above ten sites in 4910 structures of 376 distinct kinases available in the Protein Data Bank. The hot spots are identified by FTMap, a computational analogue of experimental fragment screening. Users of Kinase Atlas ( https://kinase-atlas.bu.edu ) may view summarized results for all structures of a particular kinase, such as which binding sites are present and how druggable they are, or they may view hot spot information for a particular kinase structure of interest.
Project description:Despite the growing number of examples of small-molecule inhibitors that disrupt protein-protein interactions (PPIs), the origin of druggability of such targets is poorly understood. To identify druggable sites in protein-protein interfaces we combine computational solvent mapping, which explores the protein surface using a variety of small "probe" molecules, with a conformer generator to account for side-chain flexibility. Applications to unliganded structures of 15 PPI target proteins show that the druggable sites comprise a cluster of binding hot spots, distinguishable from other regions of the protein due to their concave topology combined with a pattern of hydrophobic and polar functionality. This combination of properties confers on the hot spots a tendency to bind organic species possessing some polar groups decorating largely hydrophobic scaffolds. Thus, druggable sites at PPI are not simply sites that are complementary to particular organic functionality, but rather possess a general tendency to bind organic compounds with a variety of structures, including key side chains of the partner protein. Results also highlight the importance of conformational adaptivity at the binding site to allow the hot spots to expand to accommodate a ligand of drug-like dimensions. The critical components of this adaptivity are largely local, involving primarily low energy side-chain motions within 6 ? of a hot spot. The structural and physicochemical signature of druggable sites at PPI interfaces is sufficiently robust to be detectable from the structure of the unliganded protein, even when substantial conformational adaptation is required for optimal ligand binding.