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Proteins. 1988;4(1):31-47.

Structure and energetics of ligand binding to proteins: Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase-trimethoprim, a drug-receptor system.

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Agouron Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037.


A study of the binding of the antibacterial agent trimethoprim to Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase was carried out using energy minimization techniques with both a full, all-atom valence force field and a united atom force field. Convergence criteria ensured that no significant structural or energetic changes would occur with further minimization. Root-mean-square (RMS) deviations of both minimized structures with the experimental structure were calculated for selected regions of the protein. In the active site, the all-atom minimized structure fit the experimental structure much better than did the united atom structure. To ascertain what constitutes a good fit, the RMS deviations between crystal structures of the same enzyme either from different species or in different crystal environments were compared. The differences between the active site of the all-atom minimized structure and the experimental structure are similar to differences observed between crystal structures of the same protein. Finally, the energetics of ligand binding were analyzed for the all-atom minimized coordinates. Strain energy induced in the ligand, the corresponding entropy loss due to shifts in harmonic frequencies, and the role of specific residues in ligand binding were examined. Water molecules, even those not in direct contact with the ligand, were found to have significant interaction energies with the ligand. Thus, the inclusion of at least one shell of waters may be vital for accurate simulations of enzyme complexes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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