American Chemical Society
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Investigation of the Binding Interaction of Mfsd2a with NEDD4‑2 via Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-12-29, 07:30 authored by Wen Yuan, Zhong-Ming Qiu, Hongwei Li, Mouxin Huang, Jun-Jie Yuan, Sheng-Li Niu, Qiong Chen, Qing-Wu Yang, Qin Ouyang
Major facilitator superfamily domain-containing 2a (Mfsd2a) is a sodium-dependent lysophosphatidylcholine cotransporter that plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of the blood–brain barrier and neurological function. Abnormal degradation of Mfsd2a often leads to dysfunction of the blood–brain barrier, while upregulation of Mfsd2a can retrieve neurological damage. It has been reported that Mfsd2a can be specifically recognized and ubiquitinated by neural precursor cell-expressed developmentally downregulated gene 4 type 2 (NEDD4-2) ubiquitin ligase and finally degraded through the proteasome pathway. However, the structural basis for the specific binding of Mfsd2a to NEDD4-2 is unclear. In this work, we combined deep learning and molecular dynamics simulations to obtain a Mfsd2a structure with high quality and a stable Mfsd2a/NEDD4-2-WW3 interaction model. Moreover, molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) methods coupled with per-residue energy decomposition studies were carried out to analyze the key residues that dominate the binding interaction. Based on these results, we designed three peptides containing the key residues by truncating the Mfsd2a sequences. One of them was found to significantly inhibit Mfsd2a ubiquitination, which was further validated in an oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) model in a human microvascular endothelial cell line. This work provides some new insights into the understanding of Mfsd2a and NEDD4-2 interaction and might promote further development of drugs targeting Mfsd2a ubiquitination.