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Biophys J. 2017 Dec 19;113(12):2634-2649. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.10.012.

Allosteric Modulation of Intact γ-Secretase Structural Dynamics.

Author information

1
Department of Computational and Systems Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; NIH Center of Excellence for Computational Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Computational Chemical Genomics Screening Center, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; NIH Center of Excellence for Computational Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
3
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Computational Chemical Genomics Screening Center, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; NIH Center of Excellence for Computational Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Electronic address: xix15@pitt.edu.
4
Department of Computational and Systems Biology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; NIH Center of Excellence for Computational Drug Abuse Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Electronic address: bahar@pitt.edu.

Abstract

As a protease complex involved in the cleavage of amyloid precursor proteins that lead to the formation of amyloid β fibrils implicated in Alzheimer's disease, γ-secretase is an important target for developing therapeutics against Alzheimer's disease. γ-secretase is composed of four subunits: nicastrin (NCT) in the extracellular (EC) domain, presenilin-1 (PS1), anterior pharynx defective 1, and presenilin enhancer 2 in the transmembrane (TM) domain. NCT and PS1 play important roles in binding amyloid β precursor proteins and modulating PS1 catalytic activity. Yet, the molecular mechanisms of coupling between substrate/modulator binding and catalytic activity remain to be elucidated. Recent determination of intact human γ-secretase cryo-electron microscopy structure has opened the way for a detailed investigation of the structural dynamics of this complex. Our analysis, based on a membrane-coupled anisotropic network model, reveals two types of NCT motions, bending and twisting, with respect to PS1. These underlie the fluctuations between the "open" and "closed" states of the lid-like NCT with respect to a hydrophilic loop 1 (HL1) on PS1, thus allowing or blocking access of the substrate peptide (EC portion) to HL1 and to the neighboring helix TM2. In addition to this alternating access mechanism, fluctuations in the volume of the PS1 central cavity facilitate the exposure of the catalytic site for substrate cleavage. Druggability simulations show that γ-secretase presents several hot spots for either orthosteric or allosteric inhibition of catalytic activity, consistent with experimental data. In particular, a hinge region at the interface between the EC and TM domains, near the interlobe groove of NCT, emerges as an allo-targeting site that would impact the coupling between HL1/TM2 and the catalytic pocket, opening, to our knowledge, new avenues for structure-based design of novel allosteric modulators of γ-secretase protease activity.

PMID:
29262358
PMCID:
PMC5770568
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2017.10.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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