Application of per-Residue Energy Decomposition to Design Peptide Inhibitors of PSD95 GK Domain

Miao Tian, Hongwei Li, Xiao Yan, Jing Gu, Pengfei Zheng, Sulan Luo, Dongting Zhangsun, Qiong Chen, Qin Ouyang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Specific interaction between the postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) and synapse-associated protein 90/postsynaptic density 95–associated protein (SAPAP) is crucial for excitatory synaptic development and plasticity. Designing inhibitors that target the guanylate kinase (GK) domain of PSD95, which is responsible for the interaction, is a promising manipulation tool for the investigation of the function of PSD95 GK and the etiology of its related psychiatric disorders. Herein, we designed new peptide inhibitors of PSD95 GK/SAPAP with higher binding affinity by using molecular dynamics simulations. First, the interactions between PSD95 GK and their reported phosphorylated and unphosphorylated peptides were explored by molecular dynamics simulations. Besides the hydrogen bonding interactions mediated by the phospho-serine (p-Ser) or corresponding phosphomimic residue Asp/Glu, the hydrophobic interactions from the other amino acids also contribute to the PSD95 GK/SAPAP interaction. As an unphosphorylated synthetic peptide with moderate binding affinity and relatively lower molecular weight, the QSF inhibitory peptide was selected for further modification. Based on per-residue energy decomposition results of the PSD95 GK/QSF complex, ten peptides were designed to enhance the binding interactions, especially the hydrophobic interactions. The top-ranked five peptides with lower binding energy were eventually synthesized. The binding affinities of the synthesized peptides were determined using fluorescence polarization (FP) assay. As expected, all peptides have higher binding affinity than the QSF peptide (Ki = 5.64 ± 0.51 μM). Among them, F10W was the most potent inhibitor (Ki = 0.75 ± 0.25 μM), suggesting that enhancement of the hydrophobic interactions is an important strategy for the design of new inhibitory peptides targeting PSD95 GK.

Original languageEnglish
Article number848353
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • energy decomposition
  • molecular dynamics simulation
  • peptides
  • PSD95 GK


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of per-Residue Energy Decomposition to Design Peptide Inhibitors of PSD95 GK Domain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this