alexa A molecular dynamics study comparing a wild-type with a multiple drug resistant HIV protease: differences in flap and aspartate 25 cavity dimensions.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Health & Medical Informatics

Author(s): Seibold SA, Cukier RI

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Abstract HIV proteases can develop resistance to therapeutic drugs by mutating specific residues, but still maintain activity with their natural substrates. To gain insight into why mutations confer such resistance, long ( approximately 70 ns) Molecular Dynamics simulations in explicit solvent were performed on a multiple drug resistant (MDR) mutant (with Asn25 in the crystal structure mutated in silico back to the catalytically active Asp25) and a wild type (WT) protease. HIV proteases are homodimers, with characteristic flap tips whose conformations and dynamics are known to be important influences of ligand binding to the aspartates that form the catalytic center. The WT protease undergoes a transition between 25 and 35 ns that is absent in the MDR protease. The origin of this distinction is investigated using principal component analysis, and is related to differences in motion mainly in the flap region of each monomer. Trajectory analysis suggests that the WT transition arises from a concerted motion of the flap tip distances to their catalytic aspartate residues, and the distance between the two flap tips. These distances form a triangle that in the WT expands the active site from an initial (semi-open) form to an open form, in a correlated manner. In contrast, the MDR protease remains in a more closed configuration, with uncorrelated fluctuations in the distances defining the triangle. This contrasting behavior suggests that the MDR mutant achieves its resistance to drugs by making its active site less accessible to inhibitors. The migration of water to the active site aspartates is monitored. Water molecules move in and out of the active site and individual waters hydrogen bond to both aspartate carboxylate oxygens, with residence times in the ns time regime. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. This article was published in Proteins and referenced in Journal of Health & Medical Informatics

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