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Active Site Pressurization: A New Tool for Structure-Guided Drug Design and Other Studies of Protein Flexibility

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journal contribution
posted on 28.07.2008 by Ian M. Withers, Michael P. Mazanetz, Hao Wang, Peter M. Fischer, Charles A. Laughton
We present a new molecular dynamics methodology to assist in structure-based drug design and other studies that seek to predict protein deformability. Termed Active Site Pressurization (ASP), the new methodology simply injects a resin into the ligand binding-site of a protein during the course of a molecular dynamics simulation such that novel, energetically reasonable protein conformations are generated in an unbiased way that may be better representations of the ligand binding conformation than are currently available. Here we apply two different versions of the ASP methodology to three proteins, cytochrome P450cam, PcrA helicase, and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), and show that the method is capable of inducing significant conformational changes when compared to the X-ray crystal structures. Application of the ASP methodology therefore provides a view of binding site flexibility that is a rich source of data for inclusion in a variety of further investigations, including high-throughput virtual screening, lead hopping, revealing alternative modes of deformation, and revealing hidden exit and entrance tunnels.