Journal of medicinal chemistry

Structural basis of binding of high-affinity ligands to protein kinase C: prediction of the binding modes through a new molecular dynamics method and evaluation by site-directed mutagenesis.

PMID 11356104


The structural basis of protein kinase C (PKC) binding to several classes of high-affinity ligands has been investigated through complementary computational and experimental methods. Employing a recently developed q-jumping molecular dynamics (MD) simulation method, which allows us to consider the flexibility of both the ligands and the receptor in docking studies, we predicted the binding models of phorbol-13-acetate, phorbol-12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu), indolactam V (ILV), ingenol-3-benzoate, and thymeleatoxin to PKC. The "predicted" binding model for phorbol-13-acetate is virtually identical to the experimentally determined binding model for this ligand. The predicted binding model for PDBU is the same as that for phorbol-13-acetate in terms of the hydrogen-bonding network and hydrophobic contacts. The predicted binding model for ILV is the same as that obtained in a previous docking study using a Monte Carlo method and is consistent with the structure-activity relationships for this class of ligands. Together with the X-ray structure of phorbol-13-acetate in complex with PKCdelta C1b, the predicted binding models of PDBu, ILV, ingenol-3-benzoate, and thymeleatoxin in complex with PKC showed that the binding of these ligands to PKC is governed by a combination of several highly specific and optimal hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic contacts. However, the hydrogen-bonding network for each class of ligand is somewhat different and the number of hydrogen bonds formed between PKC and these ligands has no correlation with their binding affinities. To provide a direct and quantitative assessment of the contributions of several conserved residues around the binding site to PKC-ligand binding, we have made 11 mutations and measured the binding affinities of the high-affinity PKC ligands to these mutants. The results obtained through site-directed mutagenic analysis support our predicted binding models for these ligands and provide new insights into PKC-ligand binding. Although all the ligands have high affinity for the wild-type PKCdelta C1b, our site-directed mutagenic results showed that ILV is the ligand most sensitive to structural perturbations of the binding site while ingenol-3-benzoate is the least sensitive among the four classes of ligands examined here. Finally, we have employed conventional MD simulations to investigate the structural perturbations caused by each mutation to further examine the role played by each individual residue in PKC-ligand binding. MD simulations revealed that several mutations, including Pro11 --> Gly, Leu21 --> Gly, Leu24 --> Gly, and Gln27 --> Gly, cause a rather large conformational alteration to the PKC binding site and, in some cases, to the overall structure of the protein. The complete abolishment or the significant reduction in PKC-ligand binding observed for these mutants thus reflects the loss of certain direct contacts between the side chain of the mutated residue in PKC and ligands as well as the large conformational alteration to the binding site caused by the mutation.