This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the Tenth Annual MCBIOS Conference
Homology modeling, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics simulations elucidated α-fetoprotein binding modes
1 Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, National Center for Toxicological Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 3900 NCTR Road, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA
2 Office of Scientific Coordination, National Center for Toxicological Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 3900 NCTR Road, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA
BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14(Suppl 14):S6 doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S14-S6Published: 9 October 2013
An important mechanism of endocrine activity is chemicals entering target cells via transport proteins and then interacting with hormone receptors such as the estrogen receptor (ER). α-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a major transport protein in rodent serum that can bind and sequester estrogens, thus preventing entry to the target cell and where they could otherwise induce ER-mediated endocrine activity. Recently, we reported rat AFP binding affinities for a large set of structurally diverse chemicals, including 53 binders and 72 non-binders. However, the lack of three-dimensional (3D) structures of rat AFP hinders further understanding of the structural dependence for binding. Therefore, a 3D structure of rat AFP was built using homology modeling in order to elucidate rat AFP-ligand binding modes through docking analyses and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.
Homology modeling was first applied to build a 3D structure of rat AFP. Molecular docking and Molecular Mechanics-Generalized Born Surface Area (MM-GBSA) scoring were then used to examine potential rat AFP ligand binding modes. MD simulations and free energy calculations were performed to refine models of binding modes.
A rat AFP tertiary structure was first obtained using homology modeling and MD simulations. The rat AFP-ligand binding modes of 13 structurally diverse, representative binders were calculated using molecular docking, (MM-GBSA) ranking and MD simulations. The key residues for rat AFP-ligand binding were postulated through analyzing the binding modes.
The optimized 3D rat AFP structure and associated ligand binding modes shed light on rat AFP-ligand binding interactions that, in turn, provide a means to estimate binding affinity of unknown chemicals. Our results will assist in the evaluation of the endocrine disruption potential of chemicals.