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Special Issue "Molecular Dynamics Simulations"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biophysics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luis F. Pacios
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology-Vegetal Biology, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP, UPM-INIA) Madrid, Spain
Interests: Methodology in computational structural biology; molecular modeling of protein systems; protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions; molecular dynamics of protein-ligand complexes; binding free energies in protein-ligand complexes; electrostatic potentials and protein surfaces; quantum calculations of structures and properties of ligands
Dr. María Garrido-Arandia
Website
Guest Editor
Center for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP, UPM-INIA), UPM Campus de Montegancedo, E28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain
Interests: Characterization of allergen proteins; structure and molecular properties of allergens; protein-ligand complexes in immunological processes associated to sensitization to allergens; food allergy; molecular dynamics of allergens; protein-ligand docking in allergen systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New developments in X-ray crystallography, fiber diffraction, solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryo-electron microscopy have permitted considerable advances in the determination of biomolecular structures in recent years. However, these structures provide a static view that frequently lack key data to fully understand molecular mechanisms and functions. Molecules are live entities, their atoms are in constant motion interacting with the environment and other molecules, and a dynamic view is needed to study their behavior. Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations, nowadays, allow to explore time-dependent changes occurring in molecular systems thus providing paramount information to understand a wide range of chemical and biological phenomena. Advances in algorithms, software, and computer technology regarding high-performance computing and GPU-based processing in the last decade have resulted in a giant step forward in MD simulations on complex large molecular systems. In many cases, MD can be viewed as a counterpart to experiment as MD data frequently help interpret in vivo and in vitro results and are invaluable in proposing hypotheses and experiments.

This Special Issue on “Molecular Dynamics Simulations” is open to researchers working with Molecular Dynamics at any level. Papers addressing methodological or computational developments on force field effects, full-atom/coarse grained calculations, explicit/implicit treatment of solvent, analyses of trajectories, etc., as well as papers reporting applications to diverse molecular systems, interactions, protein function, etc., are welcome. Submission of up-to-date review articles is also encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Luis F. Pacios
Dr. María Garrido-Arandia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Dynamic effects in molecules
  • Dynamic changes of intermolecular interactions
  • Structure-function relationships in proteins
  • Protein-ligand interactions
  • Nucleic acid ligand interactions
  • Computational modeling of molecular systems
  • Drug design

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Energy Landscapes of Ligand Motion Inside the Tunnel-Like Cavity of Lipid Transfer Proteins: The Case of the Pru p 3 Allergen
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061432 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Allergies are a widespread problem in western countries, affecting a large part of the population, with levels of prevalence increasingly rising due to reasons still not understood. Evidence accumulated in recent years points to an essential role played by ligands of allergen proteins [...] Read more.
Allergies are a widespread problem in western countries, affecting a large part of the population, with levels of prevalence increasingly rising due to reasons still not understood. Evidence accumulated in recent years points to an essential role played by ligands of allergen proteins in the sensitization phase of allergies. In this regard, we recently identified the natural ligand of Pru p 3, a lipid transfer protein, a major allergen from peach fruit and a model of food allergy. The ligand of Pru p 3 has been shown to play a key role in the sensitization to peach and to other plant food sources that provoke cross-reactivity in a large proportion of patients allergic to peach. However, the question of which is the binding pose of this ligand in its carrier protein, and how it can be transferred to receptors of the immune system where it develops its function as a coadjuvant was not elucidated. In this work, different molecular dynamics simulations have been considered as starting points to study the properties of the ligand–protein system in solution. Besides, an energy landscape based on collective variables that describe the process of ligand motion within the cavity of Pru p 3 was obtained by using well-tempered metadynamics. The simulations revealed the differences between distinct binding modes, and also revealed important aspects of the motion of the ligand throughout its carrier protein, relevant to its binding–unbinding process. Our findings are potentially interesting for studying protein–ligand systems beyond the specific case of the allergen protein dealt with here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploration of Catalytic Selectivity for Aminotransferase (BtrR) Based on Multiple Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051188 - 08 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The aminotransferase from Bacillus circulans (BtrR), which is involved in the biosynthesis of butirosin, catalyzes the pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent transamination reaction to convert valienone to β-valienamine (a new β-glycosidase inhibitor for the treatment of lysosomal storage diseases) with an optical purity enantiomeric excess [...] Read more.
The aminotransferase from Bacillus circulans (BtrR), which is involved in the biosynthesis of butirosin, catalyzes the pyridoxal phosphate (PLP)-dependent transamination reaction to convert valienone to β-valienamine (a new β-glycosidase inhibitor for the treatment of lysosomal storage diseases) with an optical purity enantiomeric excess value. To explore the stereoselective mechanism of valienamine generated by BtrR, multiple molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed for the BtrR/PLP/valienamine and BtrR/PLP/β-valienamine complexes. The theoretical results showed that β-valienamine could make BtrR more stable and dense than valienamine. β-valienamine could increase the hydrogen bond probability and decrease the binding free energy between coenzyme PLP and BtrR by regulating the protein structure of BtrR, which was conducive to the catalytic reaction. β-valienamine maintained the formation of cation-p interactions between basic and aromatic amino acids in BtrR, thus enhancing its stability and catalytic activity. In addition, CAVER 3.0 analysis revealed that β-valienamine could make the tunnel of BtrR wider and straight, which was propitious to the removal of products from BtrR. Steered MD simulation results showed that valienamine interacted with more residues in the tunnel during dissociation compared with β-valienamine, resulting in the need for a stronger force to be acquired from BtrR. Taken together, BtrR was more inclined to catalyze the substrates to form β-valienamine, either from the point of view of the catalytic reaction or product removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Closure of the Human TKFC Active Site: Comparison of the Apoenzyme and the Complexes Formed with Either Triokinase or FMN Cyclase Substrates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051099 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Human triokinase/flavin mononucleotide (FMN) cyclase (hTKFC) catalyzes the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent phosphorylation of D-glyceraldehyde and dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and the cyclizing splitting of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). hTKFC structural models are dimers of identical subunits, each with two domains, K and L, with an [...] Read more.
Human triokinase/flavin mononucleotide (FMN) cyclase (hTKFC) catalyzes the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent phosphorylation of D-glyceraldehyde and dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and the cyclizing splitting of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). hTKFC structural models are dimers of identical subunits, each with two domains, K and L, with an L2-K1-K2-L1 arrangement. Two active sites lie between L2-K1 and K2-L1, where triose binds K and ATP binds L, although the resulting ATP-to-triose distance is too large (≈14 Å) for phosphoryl transfer. A 75-ns trajectory of molecular dynamics shows considerable, but transient, ATP-to-DHA approximations in the L2-K1 site (4.83 Å or 4.16 Å). To confirm the trend towards site closure, and its relationship to kinase activity, apo-hTKFC, hTKFC:2DHA:2ATP and hTKFC:2FAD models were submitted to normal mode analysis. The trajectory of hTKFC:2DHA:2ATP was extended up to 160 ns, and 120-ns trajectories of apo-hTKFC and hTKFC:2FAD were simulated. The three systems were comparatively analyzed for equal lengths (120 ns) following the principles of essential dynamics, and by estimating site closure by distance measurements. The full trajectory of hTKFC:2DHA:2ATP was searched for in-line orientations and short distances of DHA hydroxymethyl oxygens to ATP γ-phosphorus. Full site closure was reached only in hTKFC:2DHA:2ATP, where conformations compatible with an associative phosphoryl transfer occurred in L2-K1 for significant trajectory time fractions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Wild Type and Mutants of SAPAP in Complexed with Shank3
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010224 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Specific interactions between scaffold protein SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains protein 3 (Shank3) and synapse-associated protein 90/postsynaptic density-95–associated protein (SAPAP) are essential for excitatory synapse development and plasticity. In a bunch of human neurological diseases, mutations on Shank3 or SAPAP are detected. [...] Read more.
Specific interactions between scaffold protein SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains protein 3 (Shank3) and synapse-associated protein 90/postsynaptic density-95–associated protein (SAPAP) are essential for excitatory synapse development and plasticity. In a bunch of human neurological diseases, mutations on Shank3 or SAPAP are detected. To investigate the dynamical and thermodynamic properties of the specific binding between the N-terminal extended PDZ (Post-synaptic density-95/Discs large/Zonaoccludens-1) domain (N-PDZ) of Shank3 and the extended PDZ binding motif (E-PBM) of SAPAP, molecular dynamics simulation approaches were used to study the complex of N-PDZ with wild type and mutated E-PBM peptides. To compare with the experimental data, 974QTRL977 and 966IEIYI970 of E-PBM peptide were mutated to prolines to obtain the M4P and M5P system, respectively. Conformational analysis shows that the canonical PDZ domain is stable while the βN extension presents high flexibility in all systems, especially for M5P. The high flexibility of βN extension seems to set up a barrier for the non-specific binding in this area and provide the basis for specific molecular recognition between Shank3 and SAPAP. The wild type E-PBM tightly binds to N-PDZ during the simulation while loss of binding is observed in different segments of the mutated E-PBM peptides. Energy decomposition and hydrogen bonds analysis show that M4P mutations only disrupt the interactions with canonical PDZ domain, but the interactions with βN1′ remain. In M5P system, although the interactions with βN1′ are abolished, the binding between peptide and the canonical PDZ domain is not affected. The results indicate that the interactions in the two-binding site, the canonical PDZ domain and the βN1′ extension, contribute to the binding between E-PBM and N-PDZ independently. The binding free energies calculated by MM/GBSA (Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born Surface Area) are in agreement with the experimental binding affinities. Most of the residues on E-PBM contribute considerably favorable energies to the binding except A963 and D964 in the N-terminal. The study provides information to understand the molecular basis of specific binding between Shank3 and SAPAP, as well as clues for design of peptide inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of an Interchain Disulfide Bond on Tropomyosin Structure: A Molecular Dynamics Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3376; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113376 - 28 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Tropomyosin (Tpm) is a coiled-coil actin-binding dimer protein that participates in the regulation of muscle contraction. Both Tpm chains contain Cys190 residues which are normally in the reduced state, but form an interchain disulfide bond in failing heart. Changes in structural and functional [...] Read more.
Tropomyosin (Tpm) is a coiled-coil actin-binding dimer protein that participates in the regulation of muscle contraction. Both Tpm chains contain Cys190 residues which are normally in the reduced state, but form an interchain disulfide bond in failing heart. Changes in structural and functional properties of Tpm and its complexes with actin upon disulfide cross-linking were studied using various experimental methods. To understand the molecular mechanism underlying these changes and to reveal the possible mechanism of the involvement of the cross-linking in heart failure, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the middle part of Tpm were performed in cross-linked and reduced states. The cross-linking increased bending stiffness of Tpm assessed from MD trajectories at 27 °C in agreement with previous experimental observations. However, at 40 °C, the cross-linking caused a decrease in Tpm stiffness and a significant reduction in the number of main chain hydrogen bonds in the vicinity of residues 133 and 134. These data are in line with observations showing enhanced thermal unfolding of the least stable part of Tpm at 30–40 °C and accelerated trypsin cleavage at residue 133 at 40 °C (but not at 27 °C) upon cross-linking. These results allow us to speculate about the possible mechanism of involvement of Tpm cross-linking to heart failure pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Theoretical Study on Zearalenol Compounds Binding with Wild Type Zearalenone Hydrolase and V153H Mutant
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092808 - 18 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Zearalenone hydrolase (ZHD) is the only reported α/β-hydrolase that can detoxify zearalenone (ZEN). ZHD has demonstrated its potential as a treatment for ZEN contamination that will not result in damage to cereal crops. Recent researches have shown that the V153H mutant ZHD increased [...] Read more.
Zearalenone hydrolase (ZHD) is the only reported α/β-hydrolase that can detoxify zearalenone (ZEN). ZHD has demonstrated its potential as a treatment for ZEN contamination that will not result in damage to cereal crops. Recent researches have shown that the V153H mutant ZHD increased the specific activity against α-ZOL, but decreased its specific activity to β-ZOL. To understand whyV153H mutation showed catalytic specificity for α-ZOL, four molecular dynamics simulations combining with protein network analysis for wild type ZHD α-ZOL, ZHD β-ZOL, V153H α-ZOL, and V153H β-ZOL complexes were performed using Gromacs software. Our theoretical results indicated that the V153H mutant could cause a conformational switch at the cap domain (residues Gly161–Thr190) to affect the relative position catalytic residue (H242). Protein network analysis illustrated that the V153H mutation enhanced the communication with the whole protein and residues with high betweenness in the four complexes, which were primarily assembled in the cap domain and residues Met241 to Tyr245 regions. In addition, the existence of α-ZOL binding to V153H mutation enlarged the distance from the OAE atom in α-ZOL to the NE2 atom in His242, which prompted the side chain of H242 to the position with catalytic activity, thereby increasing the activity of V153H on the α-ZOL. Furthermore, α-ZOL could easily form a right attack angle and attack distance in the ZHD and α-ZOL complex to guarantee catalytic reaction. The alanine scanning results indicated that modifications of the residues in the cap domain produced significant changes in the binding affinity for α-ZOL and β-ZOL. Our results may provide useful theoretical evidence for the mechanism underlying the catalytic specificity of ZHD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Dynamics Exploration of Selectivity of Dual Inhibitors 5M7, 65X, and 65Z toward Fatty Acid Binding Proteins 4 and 5
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092496 - 23 Aug 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
Designing highly selective inhibitors of fatty acid binding proteins 4 and 5 (FABP4 and FABP5) is of importance for treatment of some diseases related with inflammation, metabolism, and tumor growth. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations combined with molecular mechanics generalized Born [...] Read more.
Designing highly selective inhibitors of fatty acid binding proteins 4 and 5 (FABP4 and FABP5) is of importance for treatment of some diseases related with inflammation, metabolism, and tumor growth. In this study, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations combined with molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA) method were performed to probe binding selectivity of three inhibitors (5M7, 65X, and 65Z) to FABP4/FABP5 with Ki values of 0.022/0.50 μM, 0.011/0.086 μM, and 0.016/0.12 μM, respectively. The results not only suggest that all inhibitors associate more tightly with FABP4 than FABP5, but also prove that the main forces driving the selective bindings of inhibitors to FABP4 and FABP5 stem from the difference in the van der Waals interactions and polar interactions of inhibitors with two proteins. Meanwhile, a residue-based free energy decomposition method was applied to reveal molecular basis that inhibitors selectively interact with individual residues of two different proteins. The calculated results show that the binding difference of inhibitors to the residues (Phe16, Phe19), (Ala33, Gly36), (Phe57, Leu60), (Ala75, Ala78), (Arg126, Arg129), and (Tyr128, Tyr131) in (FABP4, FABP5) drive the selectivity of inhibitors toward FABP4 and FABP5. This study will provide great help for further design of effective drugs to protect against a series of metabolic diseases, arteriosclerosis, and inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Protein Interaction with Charged Macromolecules: From Model Polymers to Unfolded Proteins and Post-Translational Modifications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051252 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Interaction of proteins with charged macromolecules is involved in many processes in cells. Firstly, there are many naturally occurred charged polymers such as DNA and RNA, polyphosphates, sulfated glycosaminoglycans, etc., as well as pronouncedly charged proteins such as histones or actin. Electrostatic interactions [...] Read more.
Interaction of proteins with charged macromolecules is involved in many processes in cells. Firstly, there are many naturally occurred charged polymers such as DNA and RNA, polyphosphates, sulfated glycosaminoglycans, etc., as well as pronouncedly charged proteins such as histones or actin. Electrostatic interactions are also important for “generic” proteins, which are not generally considered as polyanions or polycations. Finally, protein behavior can be altered due to post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, sulfation, and glycation, which change a local charge of the protein region. Herein we review molecular modeling for the investigation of such interactions, from model polyanions and polycations to unfolded proteins. We will show that electrostatic interactions are ubiquitous, and molecular dynamics simulations provide an outstanding opportunity to look inside binding and reveal the contribution of electrostatic interactions. Since a molecular dynamics simulation is only a model, we will comprehensively consider its relationship with the experimental data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations)
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