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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 May 11;127(18):6836-49.

Electrostatic recognition and induced fit in the kappa-PVIIA toxin binding to Shaker potassium channel.

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Institute of Molecular Biophysics and School of Computational Science, Department of Physics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.


Brownian dynamics (BD) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and electrostatic calculations were performed to study the binding process of kappa-PVIIA to the Shaker potassium channel and the structure of the resulting complex. BD simulations, guided by electrostatic interactions, led to an initial alignment between the toxin and the channel protein. MD simulations were then carried out to allow for rearrangements from this initial structure. After approximately 4 ns, a critical "induced fit" process was observed to last for approximately 2 ns. In this process, the interface was reorganized, and side chains were moved so that favorable atomic contacts were formed or strengthened, while unfavorable contacts were eliminated. The final complex structure was stabilized through electrostatic interactions with the positively charged side chain of Lys7 of kappa-PVIIA deeply inserted into the channel pore and other hydrogen bonds and by hydrophobic interactions involving Phe9 and Phe23 of the toxin. The validity of the predicted structure for the complex was assessed by calculating the effects of mutating charged and polar residues of both the toxin and the channel protein, with the calculated effects correlating reasonably well with experimental data. The present study suggests a general binding mechanism, whereby proteins are pre-aligned in their diffusional encounter by long-range electrostatic attraction, and nanosecond-scale rearrangements within the initial complex then lead to a specifically bound complex.

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