PloS one

Molecular dynamics simulations of sonic hedgehog-receptor and inhibitor complexes and their applications for potential anticancer agent discovery.

PMID 23935859


The sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway is necessary for a variety of development and differentiation during embryogenesis as well as maintenance and renascence of diverse adult tissues. However, an abnormal activation of the signaling pathway is related to various cancers. In this pathway, the Shh signaling transduction is facilitated by binding of Shh to its receptor protein, Ptch. In this study, we modeled the 3D structure of functionally important key loop peptides of Ptch based on homologous proteins. Using this loop model, the molecular interactions between the structural components present in the pseudo-active site of Shh and key residues of Ptch was investigated in atomic level through molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. For the purpose of developing inhibitor candidates of the Shh signaling pathway, the Shh pseudo-active site of this interface region was selected as a target to block the direct binding between Shh and Ptch. Two different structure-based pharmacophore models were generated considering the key loop of Ptch and known inhibitor-induced conformational changes of the Shh through MD simulations. Finally two hit compounds were retrieved through a series of virtual screening combined with molecular docking simulations and we propose two hit compounds as potential inhibitory lead candidates to block the Shh signaling pathway based on their strong interactions to receptor or inhibitor induced conformations of the Shh.

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Anti-PTCH1 antibody produced in rabbit, affinity isolated antibody