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Sci Pharm. 2011 Oct-Dec;79(4):793-816. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1106-24. Epub 2011 Aug 7.

Prediction of the Human EP1 Receptor Binding Site by Homology Modeling and Molecular Dynamics Simulation.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


The prostanoid receptor EP1 is a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) known to be involved in a variety of pathological disorders such as pain, fever and inflammation. These receptors are important drug targets, but design of subtype specific agonists and antagonists has been partially hampered by the absence of three-dimensional structures for these receptors. To understand the molecular interactions of the PGE2, an endogen ligand, with the EP1 receptor, a homology model of the human EP1 receptor (hEP1R) with all connecting loops was constructed from the 2.6 Å resolution crystal structure (PDB code: 1L9H) of bovine rhodopsin. The initial model generated by MODELLER was subjected to molecular dynamics simulation to assess quality of the model. Also, a step by step ligand-supported model refinement was performed, including initial docking of PGE2 and iloprost in the putative binding site, followed by several rounds of energy minimizations and molecular dynamics simulations. Docking studies were performed for PGE2 and some other related compounds in the active site of the final hEP1 receptor model. The docking enabled us to identify key molecular interactions supported by the mutagenesis data. Also, the correlation of r(2)=0.81 was observed between the Ki values and the docking scores of 15 prostanoid compounds. The results obtained in this study may provide new insights toward understanding the active site conformation of the hEP1 receptor and can be used for the structure-based design of novel specific ligands.


Flexible-ligand docking; G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR); Homology modeling; Human prostanoid E1 receptor; Molecular dynamics simulation

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