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Biochemistry. 2005 Jan 18;44(2):498-510.

Interactions between cardiac glycosides and sodium/potassium-ATPase: three-dimensional structure-activity relationship models for ligand binding to the E2-Pi form of the enzyme versus activity inhibition.

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Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0575, USA.


Sodium/potassium-ATPase (Na/K-ATPase) is a transmembrane enzyme that utilizes energy gained from ATP hydrolysis to transport sodium and potassium ions across cell membranes in opposite directions against their chemical and electrical gradients. Its transport activity is effectively inhibited by cardiac glycosides, which bind to the extracellular side of the enzyme and are of significant therapeutic value in the treatment of congestive heart failure. To determine the extent to which high-affinity binding of cardiac glycosides correlates with their potency in inhibiting pump activity, we determined experimentally both the binding affinities and inhibitory potencies of a series of 37 cardiac glycosides using radioligand binding and ATPase activity assays. The observed variations in key structural elements of these compounds correlating with binding and inhibition were analyzed by comparative molecular similarity index analysis (CoMSIA), which allowed a molecular level characterization and comparison of drug-Na/K-ATPase interactions that are important for ligand binding and activity inhibition. In agreement with our earlier comparative molecular field analysis studies [Farr, C. D., et al. (2002) Biochemistry 41, 1137-1148], the CoMSIA models predicted favorable inhibitor interactions primarily at the alpha-sugar and lactone ring moieties of the cardiac glycosides. Unfavorable interactions were located about the gamma-sugar group and at several positions about the steroid ring system. Whereas for most compounds a correlation between binding affinity and inhibitory potency was found, some notable exceptions were identified. Substitution of the five-membered lactone of cardenolides with the six-membered lactone of bufadienolides caused binding affinity to decline but inhibitory potency to increase. Furthermore, while the removal of ouabain's rhamnose moiety had little effect on inhibitory potency, it caused a dramatic decline in ligand binding affinity.

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