Computational study on the inhibitor binding mode and allosteric regulation mechanism in hepatitis C virus NS3/4A protein

Weiwei Xue, Ying Yang, Xiaoting Wang, Huanxiang Liu, Xiaojun Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

HCV NS3/4A protein is an attractive therapeutic target responsible for harboring serine protease and RNA helicase activities during the viral replication. Small molecules binding at the interface between the protease and helicase domains can stabilize the closed conformation of the protein and thus block the catalytic function of HCV NS3/4A protein via an allosteric regulation mechanism. But the detailed mechanism remains elusive. Here, we aimed to provide some insight into the inhibitor binding mode and allosteric regulation mechanism of HCV NS3/4A protein by using computational methods. Four simulation systems were investigated. They include: apo state of HCV NS3/4A protein, HCV NS3/4A protein in complex with an allosteric inhibitor and the truncated form of the above two systems. The molecular dynamics simulation results indicate HCV NS3/4A protein in complex with the allosteric inhibitor 4VA adopts a closed conformation (inactive state), while the truncated apo protein adopts an open conformation (active state). Further residue interaction network analysis suggests the communication of the domain-domain interface play an important role in the transition from closed to open conformation of HCV NS3/4A protein. However, the inhibitor stabilizes the closed conformation through interaction with several key residues from both the protease and helicase domains, including His57, Asp79, Asp81, Asp168, Met485, Cys525 and Asp527, which blocks the information communication between the functional domains interface. Finally, a dynamic model about the allosteric regulation and conformational changes of HCV NS3/4A protein was proposed and could provide fundamental insights into the allosteric mechanism of HCV NS3/4A protein function regulation and design of new potent inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere87077
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

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