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Modeling Molecular Mechanisms of Binding of the Anaphylatoxin C5a to the C5a Receptor

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journal contribution
posted on 11.03.2008, 00:00 by Gregory V. Nikiforovich, Garland R. Marshall, Thomas J. Baranski
This study presents the 3D model of the complex between the anaphylatoxin C5a and its specific receptor, C5aR. This is the first 3D model of a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) complex with a peptide ligand deduced by a molecular modeling procedure analyzing various conformational possibilities of the extracellular loops and the N-terminal segment of the GPCR. The modeling results indicated two very different ways of interacting between C5a and C5aR at the two interaction sites suggested earlier based on the data of site-directed mutagenesis. Specifically, C5a and C5aR can be involved in “mutual-induced fit”, where the interface between the molecules is determined by both the receptor and the ligand. The rigid core of the C5a ligand selects the proper conformations of the highly flexible N-terminal segment of C5aR (the first interaction site). At the same time, the binding conformation of the flexible C-terminal fragment of C5a is selected by well-defined interactions with the TM region of the C5aR receptor (the second interaction site). The proposed 3D model of C5a/C5aR complex was built without direct use of structural constraints derived from site-directed mutagenesis reserving those data for validation of the model. The available data of site-directed mutagenesis of C5a and C5aR were successfully rationalized with the help of the model. Also, the modeling results predicted that the full-length C5a and C5a-des74 metabolite would have different binding modes with C5aR. Modeling approaches employed in this study are readily applicable for studies of molecular mechanisms of binding of other polypeptide ligands to their specific GPCRs.