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Proteins. 2019 Nov 7. doi: 10.1002/prot.25844. [Epub ahead of print]

Investigating the stability of dengue virus envelope protein dimer using well-tempered metadynamics simulations.

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School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University,60 Nanyang Drive, Singapore.
Joint Engineering Research Center for Health Big Data Intelligent Analysis Technology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China.


We explored the stability of the dengue virus envelope (E) protein dimer since it is widely assumed that the E protein dimer is stabilized by drug ligands or antibodies in an acidic environment, neutralizing the virus's ability to fuse with human cells. During this process, a large conformational change of the E protein dimer is required. We performed Molecular Dynamics simulations to mimic the conformational change and stability of the dimer in neutral and acidic conditions with the well-tempered metadynamics method. Furthermore, as a few neutralizing antibodies discovered from dengue patients were reported, we used the same simulation method to examine the influence of a selected antibody on the dimer stability in both neutral and acidic conditions. We also investigated the antibody's influence on a point-mutated E protein that had been reported to interrupt the protein-antibody interaction and result in more than 95% loss of the antibody's binding ability. Our simulation results are highly consistent with the experimental conclusion that binding of the antibody to the E protein dimer neutralizes the virus, especially in a low pH condition, while the mutation of W101A or N153A significantly reduces the antibody's ability in stabilizing the E protein dimer. We demonstrate that well-tempered metadynamics can be used to accurately explore the antibody's interaction on large protein complexes such as the E protein dimer, and the computational approach in this work is promising in future antibody development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Dengue antibody; Dengue virus; Dnvelope protein; E-Dimer-dependent epitope; Stability of protein dimer; Well-tempered metadynamics


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