alexa Dynamics of the Large Progenitor Toxin Complex of Clostridium botulinum | Open Access Journals
ISSN: 0974-7230
Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology
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Dynamics of the Large Progenitor Toxin Complex of Clostridium botulinum

Yosuke Kondo and Satoru Miyazaki*
Department of Medicinal and Life Science, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, Yamazaki, Noda-shi, Chiba, Japan
Corresponding Author : Satoru Miyazaki
Department of Medicinal and Life Science
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Tokyo University of Science
2641 Yamazaki, Noda-shi
Chiba 278-8510, Japan
Tel: 81-471213630
E-mail: smiyazak@rs.noda.tus.ac.jp
Received November 12, 2015; Accepted December 11, 2015; Published December 15, 2015
Citation: Kondo Y, Miyazaki S (2015) Dynamics of the Large Progenitor Toxin Complex of Clostridium botulinum. J Comput Sci Syst Biol 9:1 001-005. doi:10.4172/jcsb.1000214
Copyright: © 2015 Kondo Y, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are one of the potent toxins in nature but the toxicity is immediately eliminated by the harsh environment in the digestive tract because BoNTs are just a protein. However, BoNTs can get to synaptic junctions thanks to support of other proteins by aggregating with each other, combining with BoNTs and forming a large progenitor toxin complex (L-PTC). In order to explain how the complex formation enables the BoNTs to intrude into our body, we found that the three-dimensional structure of the L-PTC consists of an ovoid body with three legs and speculated important roles in the body and the legs. In the legs part, it is helpful for promoting absorption especially from the small intestine. Because experimental results showed that the legs are flexible and have specific binding sites of saccharides, the flexibilities may help the L-PTC to easily access the binding sites to the saccharides on the intestinal surface. However, such flexibilities have been only investigated by experimental methods. This means that we still have not objectively discussed what motions are generated from the shape of the L-PTC and how the structure is changed gradually. Therefore, we developed a new method integrating an analysis based on anisotropic network model and principal component analyses in order to measure the dynamics of the large-sized protein consisting of several subunits. The results showed that the L-PTC had characteristic motions which have large movements of the three legs. In addition, the flexible motions were appeared regardless of the theoretical models. Our application to measure the dynamics of the L- PTC suggested the importance of the flexibility which enables the L-PTC to break the epithelial barrier. We hope that the activity of the L-PTC is applied for developing a new oral drug delivery system.

Keywords
Botulinum neurotoxin; Three-dimensional structure; Anisotropic network model; Principal component analysis; Drug delivery system
Introduction
At the neuromuscular junction between the presynaptic terminal of a motor neuron and the postsynaptic membrane of a skeletal muscle, acethylcholine (ACh), 2-acetoxy-N,N,N-trimethylethanaminium, works as a neurotransmitter. The reason why AChs synthesized in the presynaptic cell and taken into a vesicle are released from the presynaptic cell is a membrane fusion, which is triggered by binding synaptosomal- associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) and vesicleassociated membrane protein (VAMP) on the vesicle surface with syntaxin on the inner cellular membrane [1]. As a result, ACh can bind to an ACh receptor on the postsynaptic membrane. However, if AChs are not released from the presynaptic cell, we cannot transmit signals from the motor neuron to the skeletal muscle. Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) inhibits releasing AChs from the presynaptic cell by cleaving SNAP-25, VAMP or syntaxin. Before this cleavage, it should be required to eventually get BoNTs to reach the presynaptic terminal.
One of the intruding roots of BoNTs is oral. In the digestive tract, however, BoNTs are inactivated by the acidic condition or enzymes. Consequently, if BoNTs are taken orally, we can inhibit BoNTs to get to the presynaptic terminal. However, several other proteins called nontoxin components, which are simultaneously produced with BoNTs by Clostridium botulinum, help BoNTs to delivery into the bloodstream. The non-toxic components, which consist of a non-toxic nonhemagglutinin (NTNHA) and three hemagglutinins (HA70, HA17 and HA33) [2], can form various stoichiometric complexes with BoNTs. Such complexes are called as progenitor toxin complexes (PTCs) and include the minimally functional PTC (M-PTC) and the large PTC (L-PTC) [3-5]. Recent studies showed that the stoichimetries of the M-PTC and the L-PTC are BoNT:NTNHA=1:1 [6] and BoNT:NTNHA :HA70:HA17:HA33=1:1:3:3:6 [7], respectively.
Some researchers suggested that the structures of the M-PTC and the L-PTC play important roles in the delivery. There are two effects. The NTNHA of the M-PTC is effective for protecting against inactivation of the BoNT by directly binding with the BoNT [6]. The HA parts of the L-PTC are effective for promoting absorption from the intestinal surface [7]. In the latter, for two reasons that the HA has specific binding sites of saccharides such as sialic acid, galactose, lactose, luctulose or isopropyl β- D-1-thiogalactopyranoside [8-11] and the HA parts are flexible [12], the flexibilities may help the L-PTC to easily access the binding sites to the saccharides on the intestinal surface. However, such flexibilities have not been investigated by computer analysis or simulation. This has caused two problems. The first one is that we cannot define what motions are generated from the structure of the L-PTC. The second one is that we cannot know how the structure of the L-PTC is changed gradually.
In this paper, we construct the three-dimensional structure of the L-PTC from crystal structures and then consider three theoretical models: anisotropic network model (ANM), coarse grained (CG) model and united atom model. Based on each model, the dynamics of the L-PTC are estimated by normal mode analysis (NMA) or molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Finally, the results of the NMA and MD simulations are compared.
Materials and Methods
Modeling of the L-PTC
From the Protein Data Bank (PDB) [13], we downloaded PDB ID:3V0A (BoNT-NTNHA) [6], PDB ID:4LO4 (a trimer of HA70s) [7] and PDB ID : 4LO7 (HA70-HA17-HA33) [7]. In order to model an HA complex, HA70:HA17:HA33=3:3:6, the C-terminal region of HA70 in 4LO7 was superimposed to each C-terminal region of HA70 in 4LO4 by the Align and Superimpose Proteins protocol of Discovery Studio 3.1 [14]. In order to model an L-PTC, we conducted two things: constructing N-loop of NTNHA in 3V0A by the Loop Refinement MODELER protocol and superimposing the HA complex and BoNTNTNHA to L-PTC (EMDB ID:EMD2417) [7] by the gmconvert and the gmfit programs by setting 10 as a number of Gaussian distribution functions and 10,000 as a number of initial configurations by random generation [15] and then some structures of the L-PTC were modeled.
ANM analysis
We used the ProDy Python package for ANM analysis [16]. In one of the modeled structures, 6,535 Cα atoms were extracted and a cutoff and a γ parameter were set to 1.5 nm and 1.0, respectively.
MD simulations
We used the GROMACS software [17] for MD simulation. Although various force fields and parameters were tried, we eventually selected two computational conditions. In the first one, we specified the GRO-MOS53A6 force field [18]. Then, we constructed a rectangular box whose size is ≈ 28 × 28 × 24 nm3 and put ≈ 600,000 TIP-3P water molecules [19] and 107 sodium ions into the box. We conducted energy minimizations of 10,000 steps by the steepest descent method and 10,000 steps by the conjugate gradient method. 0.1 ns MD simulations were conducted by increasing the reference temperature to 310 K by the velocity rescale method. The time step was set to 2 fs by using the LINCS algorithm for hydrogen atoms [20]. The switch method was used and pair list, long range and short range cutoffs were set to 1.2 nm, 1.1 nm and 1.0 nm, respectively. The Coulomb energy was computed by the particle mesh Ewald (PME) algorithm [21]. Next, 10 ns MD simulations were conducted with the Parrinello-Rahman method [22] and the reference pressure was set to 1.0 bar. Independent MD simulations were conducted 10 times and the MD trajectories were analyzed by Cartesian principal component analysis (PCA) [23] by extracting 100 snapshots from each independent MD simulation.
In the second one, we specified the MARTINI21 force field [24] with an elastic network which is 500 kJ mol−1 nm−2 of the spring constant, 0.5 and 0.9 nm of the lower and the upper cutoffs, respectively [25]. Then, we constructed a rectangular box whose size is ≈ 29 × 28 × 25 nm3 and put ≈ 160,000 CG water molecules [24] into the box. We conducted energy minimizations of 10,000 steps by the steepest descent method and ≤ 10,000 steps by the conjugate gradient method. 1.0 ns MD simulations were conducted by the Berendsen method [26] and the reference temperature was set to 310 K. The time step was set to 20 fs by using the LINCS algorithm [20]. The shift method was used and the pair list cutoff, the long or short range cutoff of VdW energy and the short range cutoff of Coulomb energy were set to 1.4 nm, 1.2 nm, 0.9 nm and 0.0 nm, respectively. Next, 1,000 ns MD simulations were conducted by the Berendsen method and the reference pressure was set to 1.0 bar. Independent MD simulations were conducted 10 times and the MD trajectories were analyzed by Cartesian PCA [23] by extracting 1,000 snapshots from each independent MD simulation.
In order to estimate similarities between the ANM analysis and/or PCAs [11], two eigenvectors were represented as A=(a1, a2, . . . , a3n) and B=(b1, b2, . . . , b3n) and cosine similarity S was computed as
image
where n is a number of Cα atoms.
Visualization
Eigenvalues, projections and heat maps were visualized by the matplotlib Python package [27]. Three-dimensional structures were visualized by the VMD program [28].
Results
We conducted ANM analysis or PCAs of 10 or 1,000 ns MD simulations of the L-PTC. Figure 1A shows that 20 collective motions which involve to the whole structure of the L-PTC were obtained by the ANM analysis. Figure 1B shows that, in all eigenvalues, rates of eigenvalues of PCA axes 1 and 2 are 27.8% and 16.4%, respectively. Figure 1C shows that, in all eigenvalues, rates of eigenvalues of PCA axes 1 and 2 are 36.7% and 23.1%, respectively.
Figure 1D shows that the trajectories move a narrower space than the trajectories shown in Figure 1E. Figure 1E shows that some trajectories move well to the positive or the negative direction on PCA axis 1 or 2. For example, the red trajectories move to the negative direction on PCA axis 1, the green trajectories move to the positive direction on PCA axis 1 and the cyan trajectories move to the positive direction on PCA axis 2.
We computed cosine similarities from the ANM analysis and PCAs. Figure 2 shows that the highest value is 0.750 which is calculated from ANM mode 1 and PCA axis 2 by the CG model. The second highest value is 0.705, which is calculated from ANM mode 2 and PCA axis 1 by the CG model. The third highest value is 0.608, which is calculated from PCA axis 1 by the united atom model and PCA axis 1 by the CG model.
The followings are details of the movements of the L-PTC. Animation S1 (Supplementary material) shows that when the left leg moves up and the body moves left, the right leg moves down and the middle leg moves right and vice versa. Therefore, when the left leg moves down and the body moves right, the right leg moves up and the middle leg moves left. Animation S2 (Supplementary material) shows that the middle leg and the body move up and down and the left and the right legs move down and up, respectively. Animation S3 (Supplementary material) shows that the middle, the left and the right legs move up and down.
Discussion
Dynamics of the L-PTC were estimated by three computational models. The first one only considers Cα atoms and the forces between atoms are represented as a harmonic potential. The second one is the CG model whose amino acid residues are represented as 1-5 particles. The forces between particles are also represented as a harmonic potential. As other forces, bond, angle and dihedral angle and Coulomb and VdW interactions and water effects are considered. The third one is the united atom model whose carbon atom and hydrogen atoms connecting to the carbon atom are represented as 1 particle. As forces, bond, angle and dihedral angle and Coulomb and VdW interactions and water effects are also considered. On the basis of the computational models, the motion of the L-PTC was investigated. ANM analysis enables us to obtain sets of direction vectors of Cα atoms. The motion defined by the direction vectors is called as a collective motion and we can select the motion which involves all parts of the structure. MD simulation enables us to obtain trajectories of the atoms or the particles and PCA enables us to obtain direction vectors involving the large variance of the trajectories.
The ANM analysis and the PCAs of MD trajectories were compared by a square of the cosine similarity. The range of the square of the cosine similarity is from 0 to 1. The larger the value is, the more similar the vector direction is. In Figure 2, the highest value is 0.750 and the second highest value is 0.705. This means that the MD trajectories by the CG model include the motion resembling to ANM modes 1 and 2 as a large movement. As described above, the ANM analysis and the MD simulation by the CG model also consider harmonic potentials. Therefore, such a harmonic potential may be important for the motions which have flexible three legs. Additionally, the results also show that such motions are included even if the model considers waters or not. This implies that the shape of the L-PTC is important for the motions.
Meanwhile, the third highest value in Figure 2 is 0.608. This means that the MD trajectories by the CG model include the motion resembling to MD trajectories by the united atom model as a large movement. Therefore, the motion like Animation S3 (Supplementary material) shown by the red trajectories in Figure 1E is included in MD trajectories by the united atom model because the red trajectories move well to the negative direction on PCA axis 1. This indicates that the movements such as Animation S3 (Supplementary material) could be also reproduced by the model which does not consider the harmonic potential. Therefore, if the simulation time of the L-PTC by the united atom model increased, we might be able to obtain the motion like Animation S3 (Supplementary material). For these reasons, such flexible motions could be obtained regardless of the three theoretical models.
Recent studies showed that the legs also interact with glycoprotein 2 [29] or E-cadherin [30,31]. This implies that for binding with these molecules, the flexibilities of the three legs are also important. Therefore, we should take account of such flexibility for understanding how the L-PTC facilitates translocation and disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier [31,32].
Conclusions
In this study, a complex structure, which consists of 14 subunits, was investigated by computer analysis and simulation. The results showed that the L-PTC had flexible movements of the three legs and the flexible motions were included in different types of the theoretical models. This indicates that the structure which is an ovoid body with three legs is important for large movements of the three legs. Based on the flexibility, we suggest a story that the flexible structure enables the L-PTC to easily access to saccharides on the intestinal surface and then the L-PTC can stay in the surface for a long time and make an opportunity to be absorbed from the surface. Therefore, we supposed that the flexibility is effective for making an initial step to translocate the epithelial cell and should consider relationships between such flexibility and interactions with saccharides, glycoprotein 2 and E-cadherin. In addition, such flexibility is generated by formation of the quaternary structure. This implies that the complex formation is important for obtaining an ability which does not appear in each subunit only.
References

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  1. Deman
    Posted on Sep 21 2016 at 3:49 pm
    Authors developed a new method integrating an analysis based on anisotropic network model and principal component analyses in order to measure the dynamics of the large-sized protein consisting of several subunits. Application to measure the dynamics of the L- PTC suggested the importance of the flexibility which enables the L-PTC to break the epithelial barrier.The activity of the L-PTC is applied for developing a new oral drug delivery system.
 

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