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Biomacromolecules. 2018 Apr 9;19(4):1358-1367. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b00327. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Design of Polyphosphate Inhibitors: A Molecular Dynamics Investigation on Polyethylene Glycol-Linked Cationic Binding Groups.

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Department of Chemistry , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC V6T 1Z1 , Canada.
Department of Biological Chemistry , University of Michigan Medical School , Ann Arbor , Michigan 48109 , United States.
Department of Chemical Engineering , University of Washington , Seattle , Washington 98195 , United States.


Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) released by human platelets has recently been shown to activate blood clotting and identified as a potential target for the development of novel antithrombotics. Recent studies have shown that polymers with cationic binding groups (CBGs) inhibit polyP and attenuate thrombosis. However, a good molecular-level understanding of the binding mechanism is lacking for further drug development. While molecular dynamics (MD) simulation can provide molecule-level information, the time scale required to simulate these large biomacromolecules makes classical MD simulation impractical. To overcome this challenge, we employed metadynamics simulations with both all-atom and coarse-grained force fields. The force field parameters for polyethylene glycol (PEG) conjugated CBGs and polyP were developed to carry out coarse-grained MD simulations, which enabled simulations of these large biomacromolecules in a reasonable time scale. We found that the length of the PEG tail does not impact the interaction between the (PEG) n-CBG and polyP. As expected, increasing the number of the charged tertiary amine groups in the head group strengthens its binding to polyP. Our simulation shows that (PEG) n-CBG initially form aggregates, mostly with the PEG in the core and the hydrophilic CBG groups pointing toward water; then the aggregates approach the polyP and sandwich the polyP to form a complex. We found that the binding of (PEG) n-CBG remains intact against various lengths of polyP. Binding thermodynamics for two of the (PEG) n-CBG/polyP systems simulated were measured by isothermal titration calorimetry to confirm the key finding of the simulations that the length PEG tail does not influence ligand binding to polyP.

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