Author(s): Barillari C, Taylor J, Viner R, Essex JW
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Water molecules play a crucial role in mediating the interaction between a ligand and a macromolecular receptor. An understanding of the nature and role of each water molecule in the active site of a protein could greatly increase the efficiency of rational drug design approaches: if the propensity of a water molecule for displacement can be determined, then synthetic effort may be most profitably applied to the design of specific ligands with the displacement of this water molecule in mind. In this paper, a thermodynamic analysis of water molecules in the binding sites of six proteins, each complexed with a number of inhibitors, is presented. Two classes of water molecules were identified: those conserved and not displaced by any of the ligands, and those that are displaced by some ligands. The absolute binding free energies of 54 water molecules were calculated using the double decoupling method, with replica exchange thermodynamic integration in Monte Carlo simulations. It was found that conserved water molecules are on average more tightly bound than displaced water molecules. In addition, Bayesian statistics is used to calculate the probability that a particular water molecule may be displaced by an appropriately designed ligand, given the calculated binding free energy of the water molecule. This approach therefore allows the numerical assessment of whether or not a given water molecule should be targeted for displacement as part of a rational drug design strategy.
This article was published in J Am Chem Soc
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry