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Fly casting with ligand sliding and orientational selection supporting complex formation of a GPCR..

September 2022

Fly casting with ligand sliding and orientational selection supporting complex formation of a GPCR and a middle sized flexible molecule

"A GA-guided multidimensional virtual-system coupled molecular dynamics (GA-mD-VcMD) simulation was conducted to elucidate binding mechanisms of a middle-sized flexible molecule, bosentan, to a GPCR protein, human endothelin receptor type B (hETB). GA-mD-VcMD is a generalized ensemble method that produces a free-energy landscape of the ligand-receptor binding by searching large-scale motions accompanied with stable maintenance of the fragile cell-membrane structure. All molecular components (bosentan, hETB, membrane, and solvent) were represented with an all-atom model. Then sampling was conducted from conformations where bosentan was distant from the binding site in the hETB binding pocket. The deepest basin in the resultant free-energy landscape was assigned to native-like complex conformation. The following binding mechanism was inferred. First, bosentan fluctuating randomly in solution is captured using a tip region of the flexible N-terminal tail of hETB via nonspecific attractive interactions (fly casting). Bosentan then slides occasionally from the tip to the root of the N-terminal tail (ligand–sliding). During this sliding, bosentan passes the gate of the binding pocket from outside to inside of the pocket with an accompanying rapid reduction of the molecular orientational variety of bosentan (orientational selection). Last, in the pocket, ligand–receptor attractive native contacts are formed. Eventually, the native-like complex is completed. The bosentan-captured conformations by the tip-region and root-region of the N-terminal tail correspond to two basins in the free-energy landscape. The ligand-sliding corresponds to overcoming of a free-energy barrier between the basins."

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