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Protein Sci. 2010 Apr;19(4):796-807. doi: 10.1002/pro.359.

Computational model of hepatitis B virus DNA polymerase: molecular dynamics and docking to understand resistant mutations.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, Mississippi 38677-1848, USA.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA polymerase (HDP) is a pharmacological target of intense interest. Of the seven agents approved in USA for the treatment of HBV infections, five are HDP inhibitors. However, resistance development against HDP inhibitors, such as lamivudine and adefovir, has severely hurt their efficacy to treat HBV. As a step toward understanding the mechanism of resistance development and for gaining detailed insights about the active site of the enzyme, we have built a homology model of HDP which is an advance over previously reported ones. Validation using various techniques, including PROSTAT, PROCHECK, and Verify-3D profile, proved the model to be stereochemically significant. The stability of the model was studied using a 5 ns molecular dynamics simulation. The model was found to be sufficiently stable after the initial 2.5 ns with overall root mean squared deviation (RMSD) of 4.13 A. The homology model matched the results of experimental mutation studies of HDP reported in the literature, including those of antiviral-resistant mutations. Our model suggests the significant role of conserved residues, such as rtLys32, in binding of the inhibitors, contrary to previous studies. The model provides an explanation for the inactivity of some anti-HIV molecules which are inactive against HDP. Conformational changes which occurred in certain binding pocket amino acids helped to explain the better binding of some of the inhibitors in comparison to the substrates.

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