Steered molecular dynamics simulations reveal critical residues for (un)binding of substrates, inhibitors and a product to the malarial M1 aminopeptidase

Daniel S Moore, Conor Brines, Heather Jewhurst, John P Dalton, Irina G Tikhonova

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread by mosquitoes. Plasmodium falciparum M1 alanyl aminopeptidase (PfM1-AAP) is a promising target for the treatment of malaria. The recently solved crystal structures of PfM1-AAP revealed that the buried active site can be accessed through two channel openings: a short N-terminal channel with the length of 8 Å and a long C-terminal channel with the length of 30 Å. It is unclear, however, how substrates and inhibitors migrate to the active site and a product of cleavage leaves. Here, we study the molecular mechanism of substrate and inhibitor migration to the active site and the product release using steered molecular dynamics simulations. We identified a stepwise passage of substrates and inhibitors in the C-terminal channel of PfM1-AAP, involving (I) ligand recognition at the opening of the channel, (II) ionic translation to the 'water reservoir', (III) ligand reorientation in the 'water reservoir' and (IV) passage in a suitable conformation into the active site. Endorsed by enzymatic analysis of functional recombinant PfM1-AAP and mutagenesis studies, our novel ligand-residue binding network analysis has identified the functional residues controlling ligand migration within the C-terminal channel of PfM1-AAP. Furthermore, from unbinding simulations of the Arg product we propose a charge repulsion as the driving force to expel the product out from the N-terminal channel of PfM1-AAP. Our work paves the way towards the design of a novel class of PfM1-AAP inhibitors based on preventing substrate entry to the active site.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1006525
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume14
Issue number10
Early online date31 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 31 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

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